Cruise tourism is becoming an increasingly popular “leisure choice” worldwide, and keeping this point in mind cruise tourism potential of India is vast and is still in infancy stage. Mumbai as the commercial capital and gate way of India possess the great potential of cruise tourism as this place sees the highest number of tourist coming in and going out so it becomes the necessity of the time to convert Mumbai port from “port of call” to “home port”. This report has been prepared considering these facts and also it throws light on what has to be done to make Mumbai port as “Home Port”.
1. What is Cruising?
Cruising is a unique tourism product, a blend of the 5A’s: attractions, activities, access, accommodation, amenities. The words "luxury" and "pampering" are found in all cruise brochures, and every cruise line proudly highlights these five aspects to market its product. Cruising is now well established as one of the most service-intensive sectors in the world, with ever more unbelievable state-of-the-art vessels being built each year. ‘Pampered in luxury" accurately describes the cruise experience.
1.1 How this concept came into existence?
Cruise tourism made its small beginnings in 1839 as part of the fortnightly crossing mail service between Liverpool and Boston. Samuel Cunard obtained a British Admiralty contract of 55,000 pounds to provide a mail service and started his ‘British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company’ later known as the Cunard Line. The inaugural sailing carried 63 passengers along with the mail and constituted the first regularly scheduled trans-North Atlantic passenger service. Almost 58 years later, technological advancement in the form of the steam turbine propulsion technology enabled bigger and better vessels to be launched. In 1907 Cunard introduced a new 30,000-ton class of liner, the Lusitania and Mauretania, marking the beginning of leisure passenger travels on the seas.
With the passing of the Immigration Limitation Act in 1920 by the United States Congress, immigration traffic was vastly reduced with the ‘steerage’ space going vacant in large liners. To fill this void and to foster American tourism abroad, a brilliant marketing scheme was devised. New accommodation named ‘Tourist Third Cabin’ was offered, the space was enhanced, a few more amenities and services were added and offered to the American middle & working class and college students with a flair for adventure. The idea was a success and immediately the traffic became 80% American and remained so to the end of the year-round regularly scheduled trans-North Atlantic crossings era, and now Worldwide market trends indicate a qualitative as well as quantitative consolidation in the cruise industry, with cruising gaining greater significance in the global ‘tourism pie’ and successful seizing a significant ‘niche’ market.
1.2 Global market scenario of Cruise Tourism
The following statistical highlights that reveal the growth trends in the global cruise tourism industry:
❖ According to Report from Office of Statistical and Economic Analysis, US Department of Transportation, 2005: Over the last decade, the cruise industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the international tourism industry and during the course of 1990’s, the industry tripled in size. As of January 1st 2004 there were 339 active ocean cruise vessels operated by cruise lines around the world, with the global fleet amounting to a total of 10.9 million gross tons.
❖ If CRISIL Analysis is to believe Statistics reveal that by the year 2000, the cruise sector alone was carrying an estimated nine million passengers on 243 vessels, and by 2001; it was carrying 10.3 million passengers which constituted 1.5% of global travelers who used cruise liners making it a $15 billion industry.
❖ Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports an unprecedented 16.8 per cent annual growth in...