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Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 16 : 43 PM [IST]

Global Cruise Conclave - inCLA puts the thrust on cruise development in India

Lucy Fernandes & Ambarin Chougle
The entire inCLA team with Nitin Gadkari, Subhash Chandra, foreign delegates and Malini Shankar, IAS, Director General of Shipping, Government of India


The ball has finally started rolling for cruise tourism sector in India. The industry has been discussing, debating and deliberating about the potential of the cruise sector and possibility of sailings in India for long. However, due to the absence of an industry body which generally acts as a bridge between the government and the industry, growth of the sector was hampered. The formation of India Cruise Lines Association (inCLA) has come at the most appropriate time which will change the scenario of the sector not only in India, but even in the global market. inCLA will act as a facilitator to generate investors attention towards India with the stakeholders to start cruise operations in India. inCLA, with its members that include senior government officials, bureaucrats, international cruise lines and tourism representatives, will engage with the government to materialise the huge potential India has in the cruise tourism sector. If everything goes in the right direction, days are not far when India will emerge as one of the most talked about cruise destinations in the world for home porting ships.

Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways,
Shipping and Water Resources,
River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India


inCLA submitted the White Paper to the Guest of Honour, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India at the Conclave. The White Paper was presented by the Chief Guest, Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group.

The White Paper suggested necessary reforms in policy, tax and various regulatory laws, which are required to ensure a level-playing field for cruise business in India compared to operators based abroad. inCLA organised the Conclave, in association with TravelBiz Monitor, which has been instrumental in the formation of this association, at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, on August 30, 2018.

Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group.


Gadkari, while addressing the audience, said that India has tremendous potential in the cruise tourism sector and is well poised to grow. “Personally, I am not happy with the growth that the cruise sector in India has witnessed in the past three to four years. Comparatively, the road sector has been growing rapidly. The government is ready to invest in this sector for it to prosper as it carries huge potential, not only in the seas but also on the rivers front.”

L-R: Sheldon Santwan, Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor (Moderator); Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Zen Tourism & Cruises Private Limited; Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Bombay Port Trust & Indian Ports Association; Philippe Faucher, Vice President, Global Business Development/European Operations, The Apollo Group; Nalini Gupta, India Representative, GSA of Costa Cruises; Hemal Zobalia, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP and Mark Robinson, Chief Commercial Officer of Global Ports






While talking about the new opportunities, Gadkari said, “Lakshadweep is still largely a virgin tourism hot-spot and has the potential to generate tourism earnings worth USD 1 billion.”

He also highlighted the achievements of government’s latest work plans in the cruise tourism sector under which around 25 lakh job opportunities have been created so far.

While delivering the keynote speech Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Zen Tourism & Cruises Private Limited, said, “Over the past few years cruise tourism is emerging as the fast-growing outbound travel segment in India. The country has a 7,517 km-longcoastline along nine states and two union territories which offer a tremendous potential to promote and grow cruise tourism in India. Therefore, we intend to take the cruise liner experience to a new level for the people in India.”

Bailom said, “Our target is to take on board 2,50,000 guests in 2019. Initially, it will call on six Indian ports which have cruise terminals, the cruise ship will sail to international destinations also.”

Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Zen Tourism & Cruises Private Limited


Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group and Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India


Nitin Gadkari felicitating the panellist and the moderator


According to Bailom, China is the main source for driving passenger growth in Asia, adding 1 million passengers in 2016 and is growing immensely with 76% CAGR in 2018. “China accounted for two-third of the regional passenger’s volume in 2016, which means 21 million came from mainland China and rest 1 million from Asia,” he said.

After presenting the current scenario of the industry along with a case study on China, Mark Robinson, Chief Commercial Officer, Global Ports, ended with a note that the Indian market has the potential to grow manifold in the next 10 years and the number of middle class people, who want to travel, will fuel the growth.

With 100 new ships on the order book, slated for deliveries over the next 10 years, with larger ships, the annual industry passenger capacity will grow from an estimated 26.7 million passengers this year to 39.6 million by 2027, for a 48% increase over the next 10 years.

In terms of passenger sourcing and deployment, North America is expected to generate about 55% of all passengers in 2018, Europe, 27.8%, and Asia-Pacific, 17.4%. After 10 years, based on known and expected ship deployment, it could change to 51% of the passengers coming from North America, 31.5% from Europe and 17.5% from Asia- Pacific, depending on the further development of China.

Nitin Gadkari felicitating the panellist and the moderator


Nitin Gadkari felicitating Jurgen Bailom






‘Is domestic and International Cruise Tourism a viable option for origination from India’

The ‘Global Cruise Conclave’ saw a panel discussion moderated by Sheldon Santwan, Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor. Jurgen Bailom, Convener, inCLA and President & CEO, Zen Tourism & Cruises Private Limited; Mark Robinson, Chief Commercial Officer of Global Ports; Philippe Faucher, Vice President, Global Business Development/ European Operations, The Apollo Group; Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Bombay Port Trust & Chairman, Indian Ports Association; Hemal Zobalia, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP and Nalini Gupta, India Representative, GSA of Costa Cruises were the panellists for the discussion.





Speaking on the role of inCLA in the new era of cruising in India, Gupta expressed that there is a huge opportunity and the market is hungry for a product like this. “I’m happy that the inCLA has been formed. I congratulate the members for taking this initiative. inCLA gives you a kind of a strong lobby in a structured format,” she said.

Pradeep Saboo, CEO, Guideline Travels LLP; Kishan Biyani, MD, Ark Travels; Jurgen Bailom, Naresh Rawal, Vice President – Sales, Genting Cruise Lines and Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, GSA Costa Cruises India presenting the White Paper to Nitin Gadkari




inCLA is the only association and at a better position than most associations since it has three eminent leaders from the government on its executive team, voiced Santwan. Giving consent that inCLA will facilitate the growth of the sector, Bhatia said that they have been working hard to change the face of the Mumbai port since last one and half years and by doing so they are making the port as the hub of cruise tourism in India.” Bhatia also mentioned that the steps have already been taken by the port regarding customs, immigration, and substantial reduction of tariffs that were in the checklist of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP 1) which has been implemented. He said that five ports have been joined together and they are taking all the necessary steps in this direction. He also mentioned their vision of increasing the cruise ships in India substantially.



Faucher conceded with the country’s excitement with respect to the opportunities this sector beholds. Zobalia said that reasonable tax structures have always played a role in boosting a sector. “The upcoming industry needs this boost and in that effect, it is important to give the opportunity to the domestic market to compete with the international market and therefore, it is important that the GST rate is more realistic at zero or at least at par with the airline passengers which is at 5%”, he said. Zobalia also said that the on-board revenue forms the significant portion of any cruise line operations and it is important that in the cabotage tax, we bring in the clarity for the on-board revenue that is equally available for that benefit. If we bring the clarity and certainty of the taxes in the upfront, more and more players will come to India,” he opined. Gupta pointed out that it is imperative to reduce the taxes, which in its current form, is affecting the growth as well as revenue.

Bailom put forth that inCLA is not what he wants to do but what he and the country can do together.

lucy.fernandes@saffronsynergies.in
ambarin.chougle@saffronsynergies.in
 
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