Cruise tourism to generate 355bn - Gadkari

Cruise tourism to generate 355bn - Gadkari”

"According to this report any worldwide tourist visiting Mumbai via these cruise liners will have the potential to spend at least $100 and if 40 lakh tourists, each, were to spend this amount on an average in Mumbai, then just imagine the revenue potential of this project", Gadkari said.

He also flagged concerns on port charges and transit charges.

Even as Union Minister Nitin Gadkari expressed hope that cruise industry in India will see increased traction, challenges remain. By quoting a report of Bermelo & Ajamil and Ernst & Young, Gadkari said, India's cruise tourism would bring 4 million worldwide tourists to India which is pegged at around 200,000 today. "About 75% of cruise vessels will dock at Mumbai as the city is well-connected". These include a 40 per cent discount in port charges at major ports and an additional rebate of 25 per cent for home port cruise vessels.

While the largest cruise line operator, Carnival PLC, is looking to increase the number of cruise liners in India, David Dingle, the company's chairman told FE that the country must create a domestic cruising tax regime competitive with tax regimes elsewhere in the world. The total number of passenger liners may go up from 158 ships to 955 by 2022. Under ideal conditions, by 2022 the government may earn Rs 35,500 crore from direct taxes levied on cruise liners that enter Indian ports.

Union Shipping Secretary Ravi Kant and Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma voiced the need for cruise shipping to be exempt from GST.

Gadkari said that a case will be made to the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Finance on the same. Moreover, Dingle added that worldwide cruise companies have to have the right to repatriate their profits through double tax treaties.

Gadkari also launched a new set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will be in force in all five of India's cruising ports - Mumbai, New Mangalore, Goa, Cochin and Chennai - from November. Besides, reports on "Mumbai Port SoP's for Cruise Operations", "Road Map for Sea Cruise Tourism", and "Cruise Terminals in India" were released.

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