New Delhi: Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya flagged off the Cruise service from Hazira Port of Surat to Diu on Wednesday via video conferencing.
In his inaugural address, Mandaviya said that the development of cruise tourism is the prime focus of the Government of India under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I feel very happy to announce that before 2014, there were 139 cruise calls at the Indian Ports but today we have 450 cruise calls in the country despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a steady growth in the number of tourists traveling by Cruise Services since 2014. The number before 2014 was one lakh and the number of tourists in 2019-20 was 4.5 lakhs”, added Mandaviya.
He said that Indian coastline has a huge potential for the cruise tourism industry and six international cruise terminals are being planned on both the west coast (Mumbai, Goa, Kochi) and east coast (Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, Chennai) of India. Mandaviya expressed optimism about the development of ferry, RoRo and ROPAX services between South Gujarat and Saurashtra region of Gujarat and said that water transportation is the new future of transportation with state-of-the-art ferry terminals and modern facilities in the cruise services.
According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, one side voyage time of the cruise service is approximately 13 to 14 hours. Cruise has the capacity of 300 passengers and has 16 cabins. This cruise will sail two round trips in a week. The Cruise has Gaming Lounge, VIP Lounge, Entertainment on Deck and other modern amenities. One side journey will cost Rs.900+taxes (per head).
In November, 2020, the PM had inaugurated ‘Hazira-Ghogha’ RoPAX service and within four months, one lakh passengers and thousands of vehicles utilised the ferry service to save journey time and the cost to travel from Hazira (Surat) to Ghogha (Bhavanagar). The success of the ferry service has opened the gates for many more routes of water transportation in Gujarat and all over India, said Mandaviya.