By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): An Indian luxury cruise ship is to mark its arrival of the first such cruise liner signaling the revival of the country’s hospitality industry.
This luxury cruise ship arrival takes place at a time of Tourism Ministry’s plan to promote nautical tourism and the luxury passenger cruise ship arrivals harnessing the potential in the economic Development of Sri Lanka.
All ingredients already provided by nature, it is time, Sri Lanka is to take a special interest in emphasizing that Sri Lanka really concentrate on developing the Nautical Tourism as a special niche in its new phase of Tourism Development”.
Tourism Ministry also explores the possibility of partnering top blue-chip companies to enter the lucrative 40 billion dollar cruise line business that is estimated to carry 22.3 million passengers, with the market growing at 3.2% in volume.
Cordelia Cruises is all set for its first international voyage to Sri Lanka in early June, and the new route is likely to boost the Indian cruise traffic by 25-30 per cent, according to a top official.
Sri Lanka is truly the jewel of the Indian Ocean. The nation is moving forward with great determination and courage, and we stand with them in true partnership,” said Cordelia Cruises CEO Jurgen Bailom in an interview with PTI.
Cordelia will sail on June 5 from Chennai. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to attend a special reception planned on June 7 to celebrate the sailing debut, according to the official.
With the steady recovery of the Sri Lankan economy, Cordelia’s fortunes are likely to improve, prompting the company to consider acquiring new cruise ships in the near future.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is on the path to recovery after facing its worst economic crisis. The country welcomed over 7, 00,000 tourists in 2022, including a high volume of traffic from India.
According to reports, in 2023, the country expects to host 1.55 million visitors and earn USD 2.7 billion in much-needed tourism revenue.
Earlier, Bailom expressed that although the Indian government was making efforts to promote cruises in India, the credit lines and banking systems of Indian lenders were not conducive for the cruise industry, which runs into millions.
Bailom also highlighted that Sri Lanka Tourism had been conducting aggressive international campaigns and roadshows, including in India, to regain momentum in the tourism industry, which was impacted by the events connected to the economic crisis.
Currently, Cordelia Cruise operates a 210-metre-long cruise vessel– ‘The Empress’ with 11 decks. It sails to destinations such as Goa, Kochi and Lakshadweep on the west coast, departing from its home port in Mumbai.
Starting in the June-September period, ‘The Empress’ will sail on the east coast from Chennai, usually marking a seasonal transition in operations, ensuring cruise availability uninterrupted throughout the year. It may also cruise to other destinations on the east coast like Vizag.