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Meetings & Events

Confidence in the Asia Cruise Industry Remains High By Jiali Wong, Regional Manager, CLIA Asia

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nterest in cruise among travel trade professionals and consumers remains high in Asia. In 2019, CLIA spoke at a record 12 events across Asia, addressing travel partners on the opportunities in the cruise industry. With the low awareness of cruise in Asia, education is an essential step for the region’s stakeholders to expand their business opportunities. Cruise is an attractive vacation choice to Asian travelers, with cruises being a natural fit for families: a key travel segment in Asia. Based on CLIA’s 2018 Source Market Report, the majority of Asian markets experienced double-digit year-on-year growth. India is one of the fastest-growing source markets in Asia, with a 28% yearon-year increase. At the forum organized by the Singapore Tourism Board in September, themed “Growing Cruise Connections, Achieving Together” in New Delhi, it was agreed that while contemporary cruises are the most common among Indian travelers, premium and luxury products are gaining in popularity. Trade partners also find that leveraging on celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries and MICE onboard a ship will appeal to Indian travelers. Mainland China continues to dominate the Asian source markets, accounting for 56% of all Asian passen-

28 FOURTH QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

ger volume in 2018. At Seatrade Cruise Asia held in Shanghai, CLIA’s Head of International Training & Development, Peter Kollar, held a full-day workshop for over 100 agents. The well-received event showcased how the latest technology and social interaction are embedded in cruise sales and service with insights on how the Chinese market is embracing it. According to Kollar, the workshop— in its 5th year—was the most engaging session he has conducted in China, further confirming Asia’s appetite for cruise knowledge. With low cruise penetration in most Asian source markets, there is significant potential for more growth in many of these fast-growing Asian markets. Understandably, most consumers in these markets are new-to-cruise, with limited understanding of the brand differentiation across the different cruise products. CLIA is working to ensure agents play the “matchmaker” and recommend the most suitable cruise experience, especially to new-to-cruise consumers. At ITB Asia 2019, held in Singapore in October, CLIA, together with CLIA cruise line members, shared the unique selling points and target profiles of the different brands. Agents left with a deeper understanding of the type of cruise holidays they should present to various clients. Increasingly, Asian industry players

also recognize the opportunity lost due to the infrastructural and policies that constrain cruise lines calling at their ports. At the cruise conference “Thailand Cruise Tourism: Challenge or Surrender?” organized by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in August, we spoke to the invited pool of government officials and private stakeholders on what was needed for Thailand to attract more cruise ships. It was encouraging to hear the response among attendees who showed support for Thailand’s development as a key cruise destination. Across Asia, there are many cruise port developments in countries like China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, among others. In 2019, Asia saw an increase of 18 destinations from the previous year. The opening up of more cruise destinations and enhancement of existing ports will make more locations available for cruise ships to call at, making Asia a more attractive cruise region. Asia will see a slight decline in cruise capacity in 2019. But with the popularity of cruising in Asia and the deployment of new, larger vessels, coupled with new cruise infrastructure in the next few years, it is safe to say the long-term prospects for cruising in Asia remain positive.

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Travel & Cruise 4th Quarter 2019  

4th quarter edition of Travel & Cruise Magazine. Published quarterly, Travel & Cruise is the official magazine of the FCCA, CLIA and the cru...

Travel & Cruise 4th Quarter 2019  

4th quarter edition of Travel & Cruise Magazine. Published quarterly, Travel & Cruise is the official magazine of the FCCA, CLIA and the cru...

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