Import fees as high as 60% are discouraging industry players from bringing boats into the country

High taxation, a lack of proper facilities and rising pollution levels are impeding the growth of yacht tourism in India, an industry expert says.

Acknowledging the Narendra Modi-led government’s efforts to promote cruise and sea tourism in India, Gulu Lalvani, chairman of Royal Phuket Marina, told ETNOWNEWS.com that the country has great potential for the yacht industry and creating jobs with its vast coastline, but that import fees as high as 60% are discouraging industry players from bringing boats into the country. Places like Phuket have zero import tax on boats and offer great price advantage to enthusiasts to own yachts at these places instead of importing into India, he explained.

In addition, rising pollution levels and lack of port base and berthing facilities are major challenges to growth, Lalvani noted, limiting growth to few places like Kochi and Goa despite a vast coastline.

Lalvani said in addition to favourable taxation and weather, and with direct flights to the famous tourist spot in Thailand, it has become easier for Indians to fly to the city and enjoy yachting than owning expensive vessels in India.

After the direct flights, the number of Indian tourists as well boating enthusiasts to Phuket has grown manifold, Lalvani noted, expressing confidence that Indians would emerge as the third largest yacht owners in the city.

Now yacht traders are offering fractional ownership to Indians which would also boost their flow to the tourist spot, he added.

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