Yes, pleasure boating is not just for rich. It has opportunities for all.
Let us first start with:What is Pleasure Boating?
In simple language, it is understood that pleasure boating is boating which is done for pleasure. Everyone Assumes “Pleasure boating is only for rich and famous”, but actually it is for anyone with love for clean waters – sea, rivers ponds, lakes, inland water-bodies etc.
Pleasure boating industry has the potential to put India on world map of cruising and yachting destination. Many countries such as Singapore, China, Indonesia and Maldives have turned into great tourist attractions due to the opportunities they created in Pleasure Boating. Growth in national and international tourism, revenue generation through custom duties, sales and service taxes on import of capital goods for the infrastructure, numerous employment opportunities, growth of hospitality sector, boat manufacturing opportunities by western and local boat builders, infrastructure which supports and enhances the coastal security are only a few macro-economic view on the growth possibilities through pleasure boating.
Pleasure boating industry stores tremendous growth opportunities:
- Boater spending at marina
- Growth of international tourism for using boating facilities
- Growth of domestic tourism opportunities
- Revenue generation through boat registration, permits and other statuary requirements
- Revenue generation through custom duties on import of boats, yachts and other capital goods
- Revenue generation through taxes on sales and services from boat sales by domestic boat manufacturers
- Numerous employment opportunities in marine industry, hospitality, boat manufacturing, boat supporting services, retail at marinas
- Growth of hospitality sector
- Shipbuilding bases – like automobile industry’s growth in India, boat manufacturing industries in Europe & USA are willing to set up their manufacturing hubs in India after getting required regulatory support
- Sustainable infrastructure which provides servicing of boats, fuelling services etc. Can support the marine police and other security agencies for enhanced coastal security
- Growth of real estate properties along the waterfront
- Increased awareness and sensitivity towards water resources
WHERE IS THE MARKET IN INDIA?
There are enough geographical and economic advantages India has which have created market for pleasure boating. A few reasons are listed:
- A coastline of 7500 km and numerous navigational water bodies gives India advantage of attracting boat tourism from different parts of globe
- Increased disposable income in India will help in giving regular domestic usage
- Exposure to world class boating amenities and lifestyle of Indian travellers
- Increased foreign national’s presence in India due to tremendous growth in service and manufacturing sector
- Incredible tourism opportunities by different states of India, all attracting global and domestic tourists
A few prominent locations ideal for pleasure boating in India considering domestic and international tourists are:
- Surat, Gujarat
- Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Karwar, Karnataka
- Mangalore, Karnataka
- Kozhikode, Kerala
- Kochi, Kerala
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
- Puri, Odisha
- Kolkata, West Bengal
- Andaman & Nicobar islands
People have a myth that basically PLEASURE BOATING is a rich man hobby… But now as the time changes this industry has good potential which gave us a thought to explore boating.
Enterprising governments, private investors, and marina developers in the region would reap significant benefits if they were able to capitalize on this demand. Nautical Tourism boosts regional economies by encouraging foreign spending on domestically produced goods and services, increasing governmental revenues through taxes, and creating employment. Indian government, supported by private-sector players, will need to create an environment conducive to the sector’s development in order to make the most of their marine needs.
Governments should use public-private partnerships to grant long-term concessions for the development, financing, and operations of marine infrastructure and services to private consortia, consisting of reputable marina master developers and operators. Governments can attract such partners by negotiating public guarantees and other subsidies on a case-to-case basis. Primarily, government should create the conditions that are favourable to sectors development.
A few other support structures could be adopted by Government to support the nascent yet strong industry:
- Allocation of suitable land on PPP or BOT model at various prominent locations
- Lease opportunity at concessional rates
- Custom duty exemptions on capital goods required in developing marina and other necessary infrastructure
- Bank loans at lower rates
- Special incentives to local boat manufacturers
- Subsidies on infrastructure
- Relaxation on CRZ for marina and repair yards
- Exemptions on income tax for initial ten years
- Single window clearance agency
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME?
The answer is now.
India is already late in valuing our strength and the opportunities the pleasure boating industry brings. Many of our neighboring countries-like Singapore, China, Indonesia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Maldives-have understood and have experienced the strong growth of economy which pleasure boating industry brings along.
Indian government has a fundamental role to play in creating the right conditions and guidelines to steer the development of the marina industry-and reap its substantial rewards. The public sector should urgently focus on setting up a comprehensive master plan to combine all the elements of the marina sector development and involve the private sector in executing the government vision.
It’s after all a thought that manifests into action, and people are now, thinking boating