Speech at Welcome Reception for Ganga Vilas River Cruise Vessel বিবৃতি ও বক্তৃতা

Speech at Welcome Reception for Ganga Vilas River Cruise Vessel

Speech at Welcome Reception for Ganga Vilas River Cruise Vessel

Distinguished Panelists, Guests, Friends, Ladies & Gentlemen,

1.      MV Ganga Vilas was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 13 January 2023 in Varanasi. Covering a distance of more than 3,200 kms across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh, this will be the world’s longest river cruise.

2.      India and Bangladesh signed a MoU on the Movement of Passenger and Cruise Vessels on the Protocol on Inland Water Trade & Transit (PIWTT) routes during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in April 2017. The SoP for movement of Cruise and Passenger vessel on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBP) was signed on 25 October 2018.

3.     The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is an important step towards unlocking the untapped potential that river tourism has to offer. The journey of MV Ganga Vilas River Cruise Vessel will include stoppages and visits at over 50 locations including various world heritage sights, river ghats, national parks and sanctuaries including the Sunderbans Delta and Kaziranga National Park.

4.     The historical and cultural heritage of the two countries will receive a global stage as tourists will have an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, and history of India and Bangladesh. The inland waterways along the IBP routes provide an opportunity to witness the best India and Bangladesh have to offer.

5.     Such passenger cruises not only open new avenues of cultural and heritage tourism, but also contribute to the livelihoods of local riverine communities in tourism-related activities. Many indigenous communities and women groups engaged in tourism activities could benefit from community-led sustainable eco-tourism initiatives in potential regions along these waterways.

6.     Development of river cruise tourism will generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in Tourism, Shipping, Vessel construction and Hospitality sectors of both India and Bangladesh. It would generate employment to the people in the form of cruise crew, jetty operators, language translator, local tourist guide, local cultural artists, small boat operators etc.

7.     Riverine communities engaged in small-scale agriculture, horticulture and fisheries along these waterways will also benefit from market access and a better price for their produce as transportation costs decrease. Local artisans engaged in traditional handicrafts and handlooms will also get access to and benefit from new trade and market opportunities linked to the inland waterways.

8.     The successful voyage of this river cruise vessel will put India and Bangladesh on the River Cruise Map of the world, opening a new horizon and vertical for tourism in Indian sub-continent and will result in development of various tourist circuits in the encompassing States.