Ultra-luxury liner ‘Celebrity Edge’ arrives in Colombo with over 2,700 tourists
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): With Sri Lanka expecting a greater proportion of high-end cruise travellers this year, it is anticipated that cruise calls would exceed the record-setting year of 2018.
“Analysing data so far, there is a high probability that leisure cruise calls to the country will surpass the 65 cruise calls made in 2018, as over 30 cruises have called in the country during the first five months,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Director Marketing Dushan Wickramasuriya said.
Noting that leisure cruise tourism offers several benefits to destinations, local economies, and travellers, he said it was a sector which was not tapped aggressively earlier due to insufficient connectivity and terminal facilities.
He also noted the economic impact of leisure crude tourism is massive with higher passenger numbers and value generation.
“Leisure cruise passengers contribute to the local economy by spending money on various goods and services such as accommodations, dining, shopping, excursions, and transportation.
This spending supports local businesses, generates employment opportunities, and stimulates economic growth in those areas,” he added.
However, ports that cater to cruise ships often require infrastructure development and improvement. “The Government has already stepped up efforts to build passenger terminals and building docking facilities and other amenities,” he asserted.
He also said discussions are underway to explore a mechanism to offer visas for Indian tourists.
The commencement of the first-ever dedicated luxury Indian cruise line, Cordelia, Sri Lanka Tourism is expecting a greater boost this year with 80,000 Indian visitors and an expected economic impact of $ 18 million over the next four months.
The ‘Celebrity Edge’, a cruise ship operated by Celebrity Cruises, will arrive from Kochi, India to Colombo, Sri Lanka today, with 2,780 passengers, primarily from the United States, Australia and Canada, along with 1,273 crew members.
The 306m-long vessel boasts 15 decks and modern amenities. Having set sail from Dubai on November 13 and docking in Mumbai on November 16, the ‘Celebrity Edge’ is en route to Phuket, Thailand, as part of its 12-day voyage.
The final destination is Singapore, where the journey will conclude on November 25.’Celebrity Edge’ is operated by Celebrity Cruise, which is a firm under the renowned travel cruise line brand, Royal Caribbean Cruise.
The liner’s biggest attraction is the ‘Magic Carpet’, the world’s first cantilever floating platform arranged on a ship. The entertainment platform hovers at the height of a 13-storey building, between the sea and the sky. It can also be lowered to the water level.