Govt looks to boost domestic cruise industry, plans regulatory reforms on security on customs

New Delhi: The government on Monday announced amendments to the regulatory processes governing the domestic cruise tourism industry.

“The Ministry of Shipping, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, has announced reforms to the regulatory processes governing the cruise tourism industry in the country,” an official statement said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The objective is to revolutionise the sector, which has a high employment generation potential, by simplifying the rules and procedures pertaining to various aspects of cruise port operations like security, immigration and customs.

According to Special Secretary, Shipping, Alok Srivastava, the promotion of cruise tourism requires not just improvement in infrastructure but also uniformity, transparency and predictability in the procedures followed by multiple government organisations.

“In other words, ease of doing business is critical for the success of cruise tourism,” he said.

The reforms are based on the recommendations of a global consultant engaged by the ministry to draw up an action plan for providing a customer friendly and hassle free logistics process for the cruise tourism industry and develop an enabling ecosystem necessary to promote and sustain cruise shipping in India, the statement said.

Some of the key recommendations which can be immediately implemented are single window system for all pre cruise requirements for cruise operators like entry of vehicles, personnel and guides electronically doing away with checking of registration, licence papers of vehicle at each time.

Create a separate dedicated approach road and entrance to the cruise terminals. A uniform and consistent security procedures by CISF at all ports.

Providing adequate security and access to the port for passenger overnight and visiting local venues and use of technology for clearances, providing passenger manifest to CISF and doing away with manual time consuming process were also recommended.

Besides, the consultant recommended for “no face to face check after disembarking formalities”. Security checks for embarking passengers would be done only once and joint collaboration between the Bureau of Immigration and CISF and redesign the existing procedure to give a pleasant experience to the cruise tourists visiting India.

“It also recommended Standard Operating Procedures to be framed for training and education of the personnel carrying out the process for better handling of passengers. Implementation of green lane/red lane at existing terminals with random custom checking as is done in the airport.”

Declaration of only limited items of inventory of the cruise ships in place of the existing requirement of having the complete inventory for all the stocks in the ship was also one of the recommendation, the Ministry said.

A committee has been set up to work out the modalities and requirements for implementing the above recommendations in a time bound manner, it said.