India’s cruise source market could exceed China’s in the coming years if more cruise lines homeport in Mumbai, according to Nalini Gupta, Head of Costa Cruises India.
“The Indian cruise market has the potential to exceed China’s numbers once more cruise liners start home porting ships in Indian ports,” she told The Maritime Executive. “We saw a good jump in our Indian passenger numbers and market share after we started our Mumbai to Maldives cruise itineraries.”
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“The Indian traveler is ready, and cruising is now on many traveler’s bucket list,” she added.
According to Gupta, the need for more homeporting cruise ships in India is important because Indian cruise passengers have a unique set of expectations from their cruise experience, that only a homeporting cruise line can truly provide.
“The Indian traveler wants an international experience on board with good food and entertainment,” she says. “With the food, it is important to keep in mind the Indian customs of Indian and Jain meals. This is important for any company if they really want to tap numbers within the Indian travel market.”
For this reason, Costa Cruises offers a large Indian and Jain buffet corner along with the international options, on its 7-night Mumbai to Maldives cruises, which have proven very popular with the Indian source market.
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“We have received an overwhelming response from travelers over the past three seasons, and looking at the growing demand, in November 2019, we are deploying Costa Victoria, which is a larger vessel than the previously deployed vessels,” she says.
“Also, while Indians are taking their first cruising holiday from India and closer ports like Singapore and Dubai, there is also been a good demand of cruises from Europe, Japan, Alaska, the Caribbean and even Antarctica,” she added.
The Indian cruise market is one of the fastest growing in the world, and India accounts for a growing share of Dubai’s cruise tourism numbers. Costa Cruises homeports in Dubai annually as well, with Costa Diadema this year scheduled to cruise roundtrip from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf.
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