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HomeNewsCruises2nd Edition of Aqua Cruise & Maritime Tourism Awards Shines Bright in...

2nd Edition of Aqua Cruise & Maritime Tourism Awards Shines Bright in Mumbai

  • The 2nd edition of Aqua Cruise & Maritime Tourism Awards hosted its second edition on March 15, 2024 to draw light on the significant potential of India’s domestic cruising segment.

  • The event was attended by dignitaries including Shyam Jagannathan, Capt. B.K.Tyagi, Nalini Gupta, Mickey Mehta, Gautam Dey, Siddhant Shinde; and more.

The Aqua Cruise & Maritime Tourism Awards makes a roar, hosting its second edition on March 15, 2024, at the Meluha, The Fern in Mumbai. The idea was to recognize and celebrate the stalwarts & women achievers in the cruise and maritime industry. The spectacular celebration stood along the vision of Capt. Anish Jaggi, Director of Aquarius Marine Services and Consultancy, of boosting the burgeoning domestic cruising segment (international, domestic and river cruising) in India.

The event was graced by the presence of prominent industry names including Shyam Jagannathan, IAS, Director General Shipping, Govt of India; Capt. B.K.Tyagi, Chairman & M.D., The Shipping Corporation of India; Dr. Mickey Mehta, Global Leading Holistic Health Guru; Nalini Gupta, MD, Lotus Destinations (GSA), Costa Cruises India; Gautam Dey, CEO, GOA ICT, Pvt. Ltd.; Siddhant Shinde, Director, GOA ICT, Pvt. Ltd; and more.

The award ceremony celebrated awardees in 13 categories and also recognized the contributions of 5 women achievers who left an indelible mark on the cruise and maritime sector, both onshore and offshore.

Welcoming the audience, Chief guest Shyam Jagannathan highlighted the ambitious goal of achieving India’s GDP of US$26 trillion economy in market exchange rate terms by 2047-48. His presentation highlighted the two Indian ports amongst the best global 30, India being in the top global 5 in terms of the trained manpower, and also 30th in the logistics index. Pre-pandemic data shows that the cruise industry plays an important role in job creation and developing economic opportunities around the world. According to Jagannathan and 2019 pre-pandemic data, India is at 13th position in terms of passenger volume with USA, Germany and UK being the front runners. In Asia-pacific region, India stands at 4th place behind China, Taiwan, and Singapore.

“So there is a lot to be done. But with India’s 28.4% cruise growth in terms of passenger volume, the trajectory is right, we need to make it steeper, quicker, and faster. Today, cruising is not meant for elite segment, and the sector is shifting to middle class while the elite are moving to yachts & high-end private ships. By 2026, the population of India will be >1.4 billion, with a growing middle class looking for travel experiences. However, the current taxes and duties are limiting the middle class from taking cruise ships.”

He also discussed challenges that are hindering the growth of cruise industry as well as areas of capacity building during presentation. The key targets (2030) for cruise tourism development include – number of cruise passengers to be more than 15,00,000 (Current – 4,68,000); number of ship calls made (home+port call) to be 1000 (Current – 451); number of global cruise-lines with ‘home-port’ in India to be 6 (Current – 1); operational waterways for river cruise movement to be more than 10 (Current –  6); and number of cruise training academies in partnership with cruise-lines to be 3.

Capt. B.K.Tyagi mentioned that the industry has already come out with the vision of Amritkaal @2047 and how the maritime industry in going to help the country. Govt. of India along with DG Shipping, have already identified challenges with regards to technology, policies, taxes, and others. “We know the problem, the challenges, and the document defines who to do what, and the timelines. The Ministry of Shipping is very serious on this front. There is huge potential, Indians are ready to spend money. There is huge demand to connect our neighbouring countries via passenger ferry vessels, and we are in the process of finalizing some plans as well. Let us all, as an industry, participate and contribute to this growth story and mission”, he added.

On the same lines, Gautam Dey opined “The vision of the terminal coming up in Goa is a testimony to the government’s resolve to do everything to promote cruise tourism in India. The government is very serious and putting real hard money into it.” He revealed during the show that as the PPP partner, Goa ICT gains the contract for 30 years initially for operational and management of the cruise terminal when launched and promised to cater excellent services to cruise ships coming to Goa. “With all the infrastructure that the govt. is developing in several areas, all that is lacking are the ships. We request the private sector now, and all the big 5 cruiselines and also the home-grown Cordelia Cruises to come together and contribute to make India the hub of cruise activities.”

Nalini Gupta expressing her enthusiasm mentioned, “I am grateful that my travel experience includes the cruise industry. But the best part is that I could bring, or rather influence Costa Cruises and Carnival Corporation to bring a ship to India. There are not yet clear policies for the cruise industry in India, but for me bringing a ship to India which was from Bombay to Maldives was delightful, but the actual best experience was to bring the ship for domestic sailings. I feel honoured that we could reach people from east, west, north and south. I really wish to thank everyone who made this dream and the possibility of domestic sailing come true. It is the people who made it possible and helped us in every way.”

Talking about the success of the show, Capt. Anish Jaggi, mentioned, “I am very thankful to all who took some of their valuable time out and made this event a successful one. These awards have been conceptualized with aim to encourage and promote cruising (international, domestic and river cruising) in India. With Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ and the vast coastline that needs to be explored, my idea was and will be to boost maritime educational tourism (maritime academies, ports, lighthouse tourism etc) in India, promoting awareness and imparting knowledge about the maritime industry, and exploring possibility of future employment generation.”

The award ceremony was followed by cocktails and dinner and was beautifully hosted by the renowned Ms. INDIA & Actor, Simran Ahuja.






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