‘Cruise tourism’ to be started in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: To tap tourism potential across 7,500-km long coastal belt in the country, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma today said that the government will start cruise tourism in coastal states.

“We have 7,500-km long coastal belt which has a huge potential to attract tourists from across the globe. So we are promoting it by initiating programmes like spiritual tourism and cruise tourism…,” the Tourism Minister said.

He also said that under the Spiritual Tourism programme, the government has drawn up plans to develop holy places and heritage monuments in different parts of the country.

He was speaking at the International Conference titled ?India & the Indian Ocean: Renewing the Maritime Trade & Civilisational Linkages? organised by the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) jointly with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

Highlighting the need to build infrastructure to promote tourism in the country, Sharma said, India’s share in international tourism trade is merely 0.68 per cent, though the country has huge a potential.

“With an aim to achieve 1 per cent of the global tourism, the Centre has taken giant strides in the last one year. In the recent union Budget also, we have rolled out very prominent schemes for promoting cruise and spiritual tourism, which has not been explored in the past. These initiatives will go long way in promoting tourism around coastal belt of India,” he added.

The Minister also said that connectivity to tourist destinations is the key factor for improving tourism and therefore the Tourism Ministry has allotted Rs 500 crore for the development of theme-based tourist circuits.