Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signs MoUs with Antara Luxury River Cruises and JM Baxi River Cruises

Guwahati: In a bid to boost river cruise tourism in the country, the Centre is going to start a luxury river cruise service between Varanasi and Dibrugarh via Kolkata.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) with Antara Luxury River Cruises & JM Baxi River Cruises on Sunday signed an MoU during the International Cruise Conference 2022 in Mumbai to introduce river cruise service between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Bogibeel in Assam’s Dibrugarh district.

Union Ports, Shipping & Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the DONER minister Gangapuram Kisan Reddy were present at the event.

The Central government has allocated Rs 648.80 crores to develop ten projects under Coastal Thematic Circuits in order to boost cruise tourism in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister Sonowal, said, “One of the biggest avenues for growth in the Northeast is unlocking the huge potential of tourism in the region. With this historic river cruise between Varanasi and Dibrugarh, traversing through a wonderful voyage of natural splendour, a vast opportunity for the tourism sector set to get a boost.”

“The tourists will get to experience the beauty of flora & fauna along the riverine in this route while the local economy is likely to get a boost from the development of such tourism circuit.”

Through the Central Financial Assistance Scheme, the Government of India has been supporting tourism infrastructure by developing ports and cruise terminals, lighthouses and river cruise circuits and purchasing ferries, said a statement.

The government is also working towards developing dedicated terminals for cruise passengers and cruise vessels.

Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned ten projects under coastal thematic circuits worth Rs. 648.80 crore across various States/Union Territories, it added.

“Our tourists – domestic and international alike – will enjoy a historical experience of riverine tourism through these river cruises. From our rich spiritual heritage in Varanasi to the lush greenery of the Northeast & Assam, they will surely treasure this journey. We are working towards developing more jetties and terminals on river banks, night navigation & river information systems for efficient and effective river cruise tourism,” Sonowal added.

A total of eight MoUs – between private players in the cruise tourism sector and the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) was signed during the conference on Sunday.

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