Kochi: The Chennai-based AMET Cruises is all set to launch its cruise services from Kochi from the first week of October. The vessel m.v. AMET Majesty will sail from here to destinations such as the Maldives, Lakshadweep and a cruise on the Kochi high seas.
The first cruise will set sail from Kochi on the first week of October and the itinerary will continue up to April 2012.
Addressing a press conference here, Dr. J. Ramachandran, Chairman, and Bharati, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of AMET Shipping India Pvt. Ltd., said the company have had a series of discussions with the Cochin Port Trust and the Lakshadweep Administration over the new services and the authorities have promised all help.
Initially, AMET Cruises offers one high sea sailing, one two-night sailing to the Lakshwadeep and one four-night sailing to the Maldives on a weekly basis. AMET Cruises will make cruise tourism accessible to the burgeoning urban middle-class households in the country, they added.
Referring to the tourism scenario, the company officials said that India is one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world and there is a forecast that outgoing tourism expenditure will grow 25.7 per cent between 2006 and 2011 to reach a value of $21 billion by 2011.
Cruise tourism was becoming an increasingly sought after leisure choice in the country and once though accessible only to the rich, cruise tourism was becoming more affordable now.
The Government is projecting Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin and Chennai ports for the cruise circuit and major terminals are being planned at Mormugao, Mumbai and Kochi.
India’s 7,517 km long coastline and strong port positioning imparts a natural advantage to the country to attract international cruise line. India’s positioning in South East Asia and its proximity to already popular cruise destinations would enable strong cruise circuits to be created over a period of time.
The total worldwide cruise market is estimated at $29.4 billion, a 9.5 per cent increase from 2010.
The total cruise passengers carried worldwide in 2011 is estimated at 19.2 million, a 4.1 per cent increase over 2010.