Sonowal calls for investment in the river cruise tourism sector

Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal called on business leaders to invest in India’s inland waterways sector, both in B2B and B2C companies.

Calling the world’s longest river cruise, Ganga Vilas, a success, Sonowal said there is a need for investment in the thriving river cruise tourism sector.

“We must have Narmada Vilas, Godavari Vilas, Mahanadi Vilas, Cauvery Vilas and many more river cruises in our river-rich country,” he stressed.

He called on business leaders to work together and develop new river cruising experiences across India, capitalizing on the huge potential of the inland waterway sector.

This call to action was also made during the 4th Tourism Working Group Meeting, where international organizations, cruise lines, industry stakeholders and cruise associations discussed the opportunities, challenges and future prospects of the cruise tourism sector in India.

In particular, Raj Singh, CEO and Founder of Antara Luxury River Cruises, highlighted the remarkable growth in demand for Ganga Vilas and expressed optimism about Indian travelers’ increased confidence in cruise tourism.

Speaking to ETTravelWorld on the sidelines of the 4th TWG meeting in Goa, Singh acknowledged that there had already been a significant number of pre-bookings for the forthcoming Ganga Vilas dam, with the clear majority of bookings coming from Indian travellers.

Gujarat Lighthouses Maintain Tourist Facilities; Heritage exhibitions and guided tours. Also, as part of a significant development to boost cruise tourism in India, the Indian government has successfully secured agreements with four renowned international cruise lines and set a vision for the year 2041.

dr M. Beena, Chairman of the Cochin Port Authority, announced that Costa Cruises, MSC, Norwegian Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises are scheduled to commence their domestic cruises in India between November and December 2023. These cruise lines together dominate 80 percent of the cruise market and will make it a historic moment for India’s domestic tourism once cruises begin.

In addition, Minister Sonowal recently launched a campaign to convert 75 historic lighthouses into tourist attractions as part of the inauguration of three refurbished lighthouses in Dwarka, Gopnath and Veraval, Gujarat.

These converted lighthouses serve as tourist destinations and mark the beginning of the Department of Ports, Shipping and Waterways’ initiative to revitalize historic lighthouses nationwide.

As India’s G20 presidency symbolizes the vision of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”, Sonowal also emphasized existing transformative initiatives, including the National Logistics Policy and the Gati Shakti National Master Plan for Multimodal Connectivity.

These reforms have fueled the growth of India’s infrastructure sector, while the government remains committed to the transition to green growth in the maritime sector, the minister said.

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