River cruising, an innovative tourism product to showcase India’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and spiritual splendour

India can become a global cruise hub

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the worlds longest river cruise MV Ganga Vilas on January 13 in Varanasi.

Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeastern region G. Kishan Reddy said that after flagging off the cruise with tourists on board, will cover a distance of 3200 kms in a span of 51 days and would end in Dibrugarh in Assam on March 1.The journey of MV Ganga Vilas, will continue on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra river.

During its journey, the cruise will visit 50 major tourist destinations, including heritage sites such as Varanasi’s famous Ganga Aarti and sanctuaries such as Kaziranga National Park and the Sundarbans Delta. In Bangladesh, the cruise will travel approximately 1,100 kilometres.

In these 51 days, the tourists will travel a distance of 3200 kms. This tour will continue through Patna, Kolkata, Dhaka (Bangladesh), Sahibganj, and Guwahati, via Majuli Island. Tourists travelling in this ship will visit the famous cities and tourist areas located on the banks of these two rivers.

While speaking about the safety of the tourists travelling through the international borders of India and Bangladesh, the Union Minister  said, “all the facilities and security protocols have been taken care of for the tourists. 

The launch of Cruise Tourism is an example of multi-ministry synergy which support in creating attractive tourism products and experiences and markets the destination. River cruising is an innovative tourism product to showcase India’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and spiritual splendour.

The Union Minister further added the union government has taken several initiatives to boost the country’s cruise tourism industry, including infrastructure upgrades, rationalisation of port fees, removal of ousting charges, priority berthing for cruise ships, and the provision of e-visa facilities. India aims to increase cruise passenger traffic from 0.4 million at present to 4 million. The economic potential of cruise tourism is expected to rise from $110 million to $5.5 billion in the coming years. To realise this, the Centre has taken up the task of developing 100 national waterways, with the goal of seeing world-class cruise ships operating on these waterways in addition to cargo movement. 12 projects amounting to Rs. 1,098 Crore are being undertaken to improve infrastructure related to cruise shipping in India. For the majority of these projects, infrastructure is being developed with the allied facility at Major ports.