Will the Asian cruise industry score 7 million passengers per year by 2015?

Written by kvfawcett on December 23, 2010 – 11:17 am -

While cruising between Hong Kong and Singapore, this news is hot off the presses. At the first Asian Cruise Terminal Association meeting that just took place in Singapore, Mr Soo Kok Leng, chairman of the Singapore Cruise Centre, stated that projections for the cruise industry in this part of the world, have been dramatically underestimated.

If all goes well, Asia’s cruise industry may attract seven million passengers per year, three times the number than previously projected.

The association was created last June to help its twelve members raise standards in order to attract more people. Among its members are China, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Mr Soo said the forecast of two million cruise passengers published in 2005 by the British-based Ocean Shipping Consultants was “too conservative.”

What accounts for the dramatic differential? Most likely, it’s due to the fact that five years ago, the consultants didn’t take into account the emerging middle class in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asians, whom I’ve encountered during this trip, have said they like seeing their area of the world by water and not having to deal with airports and security.

In addition, if you access the Internet, you’ll find many more local companies offering land tours. Tourism is big business and even though a country such as Vietnam may be Communist, people have the same drive of being out-to-make-money capitalists. There are schools for tour guides mushrooming. Our guide had spent four years studying. Today, tour companies have constructed places where tour groups can stop and eat in a clean environment. The lunch we were served on the Mekong Delta was cooked to American standards. This is a change from ten years ago when a trip through this area was adventure travel.

Without a doubt, cruising is big business. Will you become a convert and take to the seas rather than to the skies?


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