Mangaluru, Jan 17, 2019: Better developed tourist facilities at New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) now, that include modern immigration centre and tourist facilitation centre, have been attracting more and more international tourists to the port and to areas in and around Mangaluru.
Bahamas-registered cruise vessel Amadea from Germany was the latest to call on the port on Jan 16, Wednesday with 447 tourists and 312 crew during its sojourn of the West Coast. The vessel sailed from Goa to Mangaluru, its guests ventured out to visit places of interest in and around Mangaluru. It sailed out of the port on Wednesday evening for Kochi, its next port of call.
As many as 32 cruise vessels are expected to call NMP during the current season ending May 7. AIDAvita was the first vessel that called on the port this season on November 16, 2018 with 650 international tourists.
About 35,000 international tourists are expected to visit Mangaluru during the current season as against 24,258 tourists and 22 cruise vessels during the last season, according to NMPT officials.
Visits of international tourists at Mangaluru got a boost when the Union government in December 2016 simplified visa issue procedure and facilitated issue of electronic visas (e-visa) on arrival to tourists at five major seaports, including NMPT.
The government has established a state-of-the-art immigration counter at the cruise lounge abutting Berth No. 4 at New Mangaluru Port with adequate facilities. On their arrival, international tourists are greeted by traditional artistes from the region who display local art forms, including Yakshagana.
The Karnataka Tourism Department in November last also opened a facilitation centre at the lounge to help and guide tourists to visit places of their interest. The government claimed that the information centre is the first of its kind in any seaport in the country.
While ship agents arrange for arrival of cruise vessels at the port, tour operators provide cabs and buses to the guests for their guided tours. Meanwhile, many tourists prefer to venture out on their own by hiring taxis and autorickshaws too.