In order to promote cruise tourism in the country the Government of India has exempted cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of biometric enrolment for the major ports, said Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon. Radhakrishnan.
The exemption will be in effect in the ports of Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Mormugao and New Mangalore for a period of three years till 31st December, 2020.
The Government has also taken steps for customer-friendly and hassle-free immigration regime for cruise passengers such as implementation of e-visa and e-Landing cards at the five ports.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle cruise vessels and cruise passengers have been revised in November, 2017 in consultation with the stakeholders and have been implemented at the five major ports which receive cruise vessels.
The revised SOPs inter alia provide for submission of documents/data electronically, seamless entry and exit processes with Access Control & RFID for vehicles and persons and simplified Port Health Organization clearance procedure.
It further provides for e-Landing card for shore excursion, doing away with face to face checks except at the first of entry and last port of exist and allowing carrying of valid photo I-card for Indian cruise passengers on domestic leg instead of the passport.
The Government also proposes to upgrade the Cruise Terminal
at Mumbai Port and construct a new terminal at Cochin Port
at cost of Rs. 197 crore and Rs 25.72 crore respectively. The proposed projects are slated to be completed by August, 2019 and February, 2020 respectively.