Cruise vacations are fast becoming popular amongst Indian tourists. First 3 months of this year saw a jump of 25% in bookings by Indians for various cruises. This follows the international cruise trend where more than 2.2 million passengers world-wide cruised, representing a significant 23% increase over the number of passengers carried during the same period last year.
According to Seatrade publisher and managing director Christopher Hayman, Indian Ocean cruises could be an effective solution for winter deployment of ships operating in northern Europe, like the Carribean Islands.He was speaking on ‘Maritime Developments in the Middle East: Business Opportunities for India’ at the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday. Cruise tourism is expected to be a major opportunity for India with the development of cruise terminals at five ports on the west and east coasts of the country, he said.
This would open up avenues for Indian industry to provide marine services, hospitality services, port excursions, etc. to these cruises, Mr Hayman added. The cruise fleet globally, which was at 182 vessels in 1990 and 304 in the year 2000, is projected to reach around 311 vessel by 2006 worldwide, he said. .
Commenting on the Arab investment in shipping, Mr Hayman said that shipping has greater appeal to Arab Investors due to high liquidity and high freight rates. This has opened up the opportunities to set up joint ventures for Indian shipping companies. More-over, Sharia compliant investment instrument for marine assets are also now available, he added.
According to some statistics by Cruise Lines International Associations (CLIA), the cruise industry is on track to carry more than 8.5 million passengers world-wide in 2003, making a 15% increase over the 7.4 million guests who took cruises last year. The number of North Americans cruising the first three months increased nearly 20% over the same period in 2002. From 1980 through 2001, growth in cruise capacity has averaged 7.6% annually, keeping pace with demand and the 8.4% annual passenger growth the industry has experienced since 1980, revealed CLIA figures.
Cruise traffic is projected to go up to 16 million passengers worldwide by 2009, from 14 million in 2004. Indian ports can be developed to attract the cruise traffic and have a substential market share in this growing industry
– Financial Express, Shipping Journal