Cruise tourism Current Affairs - 2019
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Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Tourism Ministry sanctions Rs. 80.37 crore for developing cruise tourism in Kerala
Ministry of Tourism sanctioned Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of rural circuit in Kerala. Under this project, Ministry of Tourism will be developing three cruises with budget of Rs. 80.37 crores.
Three approved cruise are
- Malabari Cuisine and Culinary Cruise (Muthappan Cruise): It will start from Valapattanam and cover distance of 40 km to reach Munambu Kadavu in Valapattanam River.
- Valapattanam River- Theyyam Cruise: It will begin from Valapattanam and will go up to Pazhayangadi in Valapattanam River.
- Mangrove Cruise: It will be running on Kuppam River covering distance of 16 Km from Pazhayangadi to Kuppam.
The project will be focusing on development of water-based thematic cruise experiences in and around Valapattanam and Kuppam Rivers of Kannur District to tap potential of water tourism of Kerala. The cruises under it will be operated under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Ministry of Tourism will provide funds for development of basic infrastructure facilities such as passenger terminals, boat terminals, jetties, boat race gallery, food courts, performance areas, bio toilets, wifi facility, drinking water facilities, floating markets for local produce among others.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
The scheme was launched by Union Tourism Ministry with an objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
Under this scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development. They are Buddhist Circuit, North-East India Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
It is 100% centrally funded scheme for the project components undertaken for public funding. It also has provision for leveraging voluntary funding under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
The funding of projects under this scheme varies from state to state. It is finalised on basis of detailed project reports prepared by Programme Management Consultant (PMC) which is national level consultant for implementing the scheme.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on request of the Ministry of Shipping has exempted cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of biometric enrolment for a period of three years i.e. till 2020. The purpose of the move is to promote cruise tourism in the country and make India attractive cruise tourist destination.
This simplified immigration clearance procedure will make immigration clearance of such passengers faster, leaving them with more time to spend on shore. This is also important factor that will help cruise lines decide whether or not to include a destination in their itinerary. This simplified immigration clearance procedure is part of a series of steps to attract and to enhance cruise passenger experience at the major ports.
The Ministry of Shipping has been working towards simplifying immigration clearance procedure and providing passengers with customer friendly and hassle free logistics process when they embark on or disembark from their cruise at Indian ports.
E-visa facility is being implemented in five major ports viz. Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai. Till now biometrics of passengers were required at port of first arrival for immigration clearance. However, the immigration procedure was taking more than internationally accepted norm of clearing immigration for all cruise passengers in a maximum of 90 minutes.