Mormugao Port Trust, the gate way to the world famous Tourist state of Goa has over the years played a significant and crucial role in sustaining the high end tourism industry in the state thereby contributing to its economic health. The port plays a major role in receiving high spending cruise liner tourists to the state at its cruise terminal at the port.
In order to meet the growing demands of the cruise liner traffic and to keep pace with other ports, Mormugao Port is constantly upgrading their facilities. The cruise traffic arrival at the port has shown a steady increase over the years. Presently the port has a dedicated cruise berth terminal at the port to handle the visiting cruise liners. The port added yet another feather in its cap when it inaugurated the newly built Cruise Terminal at an estimated cost of 8.7 crores in December 2016. The new Terminal building was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping GOI. With the growth of cruise liner traffic across the globe, the Ministry of Shipping has projected a further leap in the cruise liner traffic at Indian ports in future. With strategic planning, and better infrastructure combined with Goa’s status as the ‘must see’ destination on the West Coast of India, Mormugao Port stands to benefit from this potential.
The 2016-2017 cruise liner traffic season began on a positive note with the arrival of the first cruise liner M.V. AZMARA JOURNEY of the Azamara Club Cruises on 8th November 2016, with 648 high end guests and 401 crew.
The Mormugao Port has during the current cruise traffic season handled 29 passenger cruise liners till 16th March 2017, aggregating to 36,722 passengers and 16,641 crew members. The visiting high end guests hail from various countries in the west viz., USA, UK, Germany, Austria, France, Australia, Holland, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Italy etc.
During November 2016, cruise liner M.V. AIDA BELLA was the first cruise vessels that docked at the port for an overnight stay. The month of December 2016 saw the peak arrivals of cruise liners at Mormugao and the port has handled 09 cruise liners during the month. The port has also played host to two cruise liners simultaneously at the port on a single day on 6 different occasions. The flow of tourists on such occasions is enormous thereby further boosting the economic activity in the state and enhancing the business potential of other stake holders too.
The arrival of the cruise vessels not only facilitates the growth of the cruise tourism in the State of Goa, but also contributes to the economic health and foreign exchange earnings. The tourists on dis-embarking go on a guided site seeing tour in and around Goa at the famous tourist locales as well as visit religious monuments, spice gardens and beaches. They also patronize the local tourist handicraft emporiums, boutiques etc in the State thereby providing business opportunities and business prospects to the local business community. The transport industry engaged in the local travel and logistic business also benefits from the tourists arrivals including the private tourism taxi operators. The Port provides business opportunity to the local tourists taxi operators from Mormugao to ply their trade at the port for ferrying the passengers. A large number of the cruise tourists also explore the local Vasco market and patronize the commercial establishments.
The current cruise tourism season which will extend up to June 2017, will see the arrival of around 40 cruise liners at Mormugao. The port is doing all efforts under the overall guidance and support of the Ministry of Shipping to improve up on the infrastructure and other facilities for handling more cruise liners in the near future. The construction of the new Cruise Terminal building will facilitate housing of all the crucial Agencies linked to the tourism industry like Customs, Immigration, Shipping Agents, Forex, all under one roof.
Taking a progressive step forward in order to give a major boost to the Cruise Liner Traffic at Mormugao Port, the Port management recently fulfilled the long pending need of the tourism stakeholders by commissioning the Pre-paid Taxi Counter at the Cruise Terminal. The Tourism industry in general and the transport lobby providing logistical support in particular have welcomed this initiative which will bring standardization in the taxi tariff rates as approved by the Directorate of Transport, Government of Goa, thereby eliminating the aspect of overcharging and quoting exorbitant tariff to the foreign tourists by taxi operators. This move will also put an end to the confrontation between the visiting tourists and taxi operators over the tariffs charged. Consequent to the commissioning of the Pre-paid Taxi Counter, besides it bringing uniformity in the tariff rates applied for hiring tourist taxis for visiting tourists sites within Goa, the Port will keep a close watch and monitor the Pre-paid taxi counter operations in the port, so as to provide hassle free service to the state guests as well as taking care of the safety aspect of the visitors.
Furthermore, the Mormugao Port is working in close tandem with the Mumbai Port to boost the Cruise Liner prospects in the state of Goa so that the number of the visiting cruise liners increase in the near future which will augur well for a vibrant economic growth in the port sector and bring rich dividends to the local economy as well.
The Department of tourism, Government of Goa, supports the efforts of the Port by welcoming the cruise tourists at the port on their arrival by offering flowers and presenting them an extravaganza of cultural pageantry, showcasing the rich and diverse cultural heritage and folklore of Goa.
Presently the Group Landing Permit is also being issued for the visiting cruise liner tourists at Mormugao port by the Immigration Authorities. The Port authorities are vigorously pursuing the implementation of ‘Visa on arrival’ at Mormugao Port with the competent authority, which when introduced will give a further boost to the cruise traffic at the port and ensure its rapid growth in future.