What is the relevance of Water Transport in the Tourism?
The water transport is regarded as the world’s oldest mode of transport. There are three broad categories of water transport. They are
- Coastal Shipping,
- Inland Waterways and
- Foreign Going Traffic/International Waterways.
India has a vast coastline thus there is considerable scope for utilization of coastal shipping for transport of goods and passengers. It is the most energy efficient and cheapest mode of transport over long distances.
The inland waterways like coastal shipping has inherent advantages like being the cheapest mode energy saving, lots investments etc. The share of inland waterways on the country’s transport system is 1% though the navigable inland waterways extend to 14,500 kms. comprising of a variety of river systems, canals and backwaters.
Foreign Going Traffic International Waterways:
There are 11 major and 139 minor ports in India. The major ports are under the control of the ministry of surface transport of the Union Government.
The water transport has very importance in the tourism. Cities having rivers and seas have tremendous potentiality to plan different package tours on boat, steamer or ship. For example West Bengal tourism department introduced special tourist launches to carry tourists to Sunder bans. In the launch itself various facilities were provided to make the journey and stay comfortable,
The approach to Elephanta caves is through motor launch only which ply from Gateway of India. Similarly Goa Tourism Department organises sea cruises. In the same way tourists going to Lakshadweep islands on cruise ships. During day they are taken to the island by boats and at night they stay back at the ship where different kinds of entertainment is provided. Some travel agencies also conduct sea cruises for tourists. The leading being the Travel Corporation of India. The tourists going on a holiday to Andamans take a ship either from Madras or Calcutta.
There is further variety of tourist attraction like staying in a houseboat at Dal Lake in Kashmir, taking boat trips at Varanasi or Allahabad, boating at Nainital etc.