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Come March and the country starts simmering as summer approaches. It is the best time to explore cooler climes, but given the prevailing global geo-political scenario, there is no safer choice than hopping on to a boat and sailing away into the sunset. And cruises are de rigueur— the more obscure the destination, the better. With Scandinavia and South America on everyone’s bucket list, hopefully, this year, India is also on everyone’s itinerary, given that our coastline and rivers are finally opening up to cruise liners. There is a certain magic in exploring the globe through water. There are no traffic jams, no distance issues, and pretty much everything is at your beck and call. Formerly the preserve of the older generations, now younger explorers are rushing off to the Antarctic or the Galapagos Islands on cruise liners. With new airlines entering the market, improved airports and ports, and e-visa facilities, India with its rich history and culture should attract more inbound tourists than the miniscule nine odd million we did in 2016. This figure is dwarfed by Thailand, which attracted nearly 30 million tourists last year! But unless we project India as a safe, clean and hassle-free destination, we will continue to lose the tourism stakes. Hopefully, with cruise liners coming into the fray, especially on the west coast, we can curate and manage travellers’ experiences.

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