Sailing of the first International Cruise Liner in India flagged off

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Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH Shri Sarbananda Sonowal on 3 November flagged off the maiden voyage of the vessel Costa Serena, the first International Cruise Liner in India from Mumbai.

Speaking at the occasion Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said, “The launch of Costa Cruises’ domestic sailings in India thus is a momentous occasion that signifies the dawn of a new era in cruising and tourism. This initiative has been driven by the “Dekho Apna Desh” initiative of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji.”

India has enhanced its focus on the cruise sector with Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) actively promoting cruise tourism for its vast economic positive impact, the potential for job creation, for earning foreign exchange, amongst many other benefits. One of the key thrust areas is to develop cruise destinations at tourism places of coastal state and islands.

The launch of Costa Cruises’ domestic sailings has been made possible by a series of initiatives taken by the government to promote and revitalize the cruise tourism industry in India. Costa cruises, Italy is part of Carnival Corporation, one of the largest cruising conglomerates in the world with reputed cruise brands. These measures include guaranteed berths to cruise ships, removal of Ousting charges, Concessional uniform single rate for all Major ports, Volume discounts in cruise tariff up to 30% for domestic cruise ships, waiver of cabotage for foreign cruise vessels, Uniform SOPs for Customs, Immigrations, CISF, Ports, upgradation and modernization of cruise terminals with enhance passenger facilities, etc.

One of the most significant steps in this journey taken recently was the conditional IGST exemption to foreign flag foreign going vessel when it converts to coastal run, which substantially reduced the financial burden on foreign cruise operators.