Mumbai, Oct 20 (IANS) In a bid to boost cruise liner operations along India's western coast and expand the scope of leisure-cum-business tourism, the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) is all set to develop a Rs.100 billion ($2.2 billion) state-of-the-art dedicated passenger terminal for the island city.
The terminal would be located off the Radio Club in south Mumbai.
'We have identified the site and various studies are being carried out for development of the dedicated passenger terminal,' MbPT's Manager-Traffic V. Ranganath said.
'The Maharashtra government is very keen on the early completion of this project,' he added.
The terminal, if it goes as per present plan, would be ready in the next two to three years, Ranganath told here Friday.
He was accompanied by advisor to the ministry of surface transport, shipping and highways D.T. Joseph and Star Cruises' Chief Operating Officer Chong Chee Tut on board the SuperStar Libra cruise liner during a trip around the Mumbai harbour.
Besides the passenger terminal, several ancillary facilities will also be developed, he said.
'It will be a big state-of-the-art terminal that would be able to handle two cruise liners at a time,' he said giving details of the new project.
Star Cruises, which has completed its first successful year of operation on India's western coast, plans to market its leisure-cum-business packages more aggressively.
'With the huge potential of marketing the packages in the region we want to offer more services here. During our operations in the last one year, we have catered to a wide segment - from families, corporate groups to honeymooners and youths,' said Tut.
'Two weddings were held last year on board the ship and this season too we have been booked for another two,' he said, adding that nearly 130 cabins were booked during the weddings last year.
Maintaining that India remains a very important market for Star Cruises, Tut said: 'The homecoming and homeporting of SuperStar Libra in India for a second season clearly reflects our commitment towards developing a cruise industry in India.'
'We look forward to the cooperation and support of the tourism and transport authorities in Maharashtra to achieve our common objectives.
'We are also keen to consider the proposal of linking the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) operated 'Deccan Odyssey' luxury train package with the SuperStar Libra.'
He said Star Cruises was interested in developing a package that would link the Agra circuit with the cruise for the benefit of travellers from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.