Another luxury passenger ship ‘Princess Cruise’ docked at the Colombo yesterday morning (11 March), with nearly 2,000 passengers aboard mainly from the US , the fourth luxury cruise with in around three months from the arrival of the previous cruise liner in the island on November 2022 signaling the revival of the country’s hospitality industry.
Tourism Ministry is planning 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”.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation confirmed that the ship arrived yesterday morning, carrying 1,894 tourists and 906 crew members.
A group of 159 tourists who had come aboard the ship have already left the Port, and are scheduled to visit Kandy, Pinnawala, Negombo and Ingiriya.
The 294-metre-long ship belonging to an American company arrived from Thailand and is due to leave for Dubai tonight, the Ministry confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) stated that nearly 25,000 tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka within the first week of March, while a total of 234,547 tourists have arrived in the island for 2023 thus far.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka saw a total of 24,363 tourists between 01 and 06 March, with a majority of them having been identified as Russian nationals.
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.
The previous luxury cruise ship, Azamara Quest arrived at the Colombo Port in December 2022 carrying more than 600 passengers, mainly from the US.
Azamara Quest is an R-class cruise ship that entered service for Azamara Cruises on 24 October 2007. She was built in 2000 for Renaissance Cruises as R Seven.
The Azamara Quest carries about 710 passengers (double occupancy) plus 410 crew members (1:2 staff to guest ratio).
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said that it was “heart-warming” to see the luxury cruise in Colombo.
“Having a cruise ship in the country is similar to having 10 aircraft full of tourists,” the minister said.
Minister Fernando said the country expected two to three more passenger ships “The cruises will build a positive image of the country through word of mouth. That is what the country needs now,” he said.