Among those joining the ship berthed at Hong Kong's Kai Tak terminal were travel agents from over 10 Asian countries who had sold cruises which spanned 12 countries, 15 homeports and 50 destinations.
President of Dream Cruises, Thatcher Brown told SCN that Genting Dream’s year round homeport deployment in Hong Kong in 2017 contributed to a little over 100% of the 2016/2017 year-on-year growth of revenue generating passengers throughput out of Hong Kong (Kai Tak).
‘It is without a doubt that the 300-odd Asia Pacific based travel partners attending our travel professional tribute event on World Dream have been an essential part of the Dream Cruises’ brand launch and Hong Kong deployment success story. Together we continue to generate over 50% of Hong Kong/Kai Tak’s cruise passenger throughput annually on our Dream ships. We continue to support the development of the cruise industry in the Pearl River Delta with two embarkations a week from Hong Kong.’
Brown went on to say, ‘World Dream has definitely benefited from hard work that went into Genting Dream(the first of the company’s two ships to be launched in 24 months). This was despite the downward pressure felt by cruise lines from the China-Korea fallout which started a year ago, he added.
One of the company’s top performer’s Kishan Biyani md Ark Holidays, based in India said, ‘Indians are discovering how fun and convenient it is to cruise and that many passengers on Dream Cruises are repeat Genting clientele, who began cruising with Star Cruises and were game for longer itineraries, further away.’
Kent Zhu president of Genting Cruise Lines announced the introduction of a Genting Academy for travel partners including online training and information website.
Notably absent at the gala event were the group’s chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and president Colin Au. Images of the pair attending last Thursday’s steel cutting ceremony at M/V Werften of the first of a pair of Genting Hong Kong’s 204,000gt Global-class newbuilds were streamed to the gala.
Originally ordered for Star Cruises and now switched to Dream Cruises, Brown said ‘we will begin designing for a new class of ships for Star Cruises which will rejuvenate the Star Cruises brand in the coming years.’
General manager, MICE & Cruise, HKTB Kenneth Wong, who was also onboard said that Hong Kong cruise tourism saw an unprecedented throughput and growth in 2017, 'amplified by the debut, regional or homeport deployments of mega cruise ships in Hong Kong'.
Worldwide Cruise Terminals which runs Hong Kong’s larger cruise terminal at Kai Tak reported that there was double the number of ship calls in 2017 over 2016, with revenue passenger numbers at Kai Tak also doubling to reach a high of 732,586.
Jeff Bent, managing director of WCT told SCN, 'the homeporting of World Dream (and Genting Dream before her) have really made cruising a visible and high profile vacation option in Hong Kong, both through their extensive marketing, and also simply by having their ship sailing in and out of the central harbor every Friday and Sunday, where it is visible to much of the population. The World Dream homeporting has helped to vastly increase the size of the local Hong Kong source market.'