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Asia is back

Asia comes under the spotlight at Seatrade Cruise Global
Asia has the potential to be the new cruising playground with vibrant, energetic and multi-cultural destinations, executives representing cruise lines, tourism, ports, government and regulators shared at Seatrade Cruise Global.

Opening the session, moderator Dickson Chin, MD Wallem Ship Agency claimed ‘Asia is back.'

Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines register record visitor numbers generally and cruise passenger numbers that are hitting even higher percentage growth numbers.

Jacqueline Ng, director Cruise Singapore Tourism Board said whilst tourism numbers were up 5%, cruise growth is up 15.9%.

Malaysia expansion

Malaysia Tourism Minister Siew Fook Lake spoke of port infrastructure developments at Penang and Port Klang including shore power capabilities at the former inside two years as well as a major port development at Malacca withing 2-3 years.

Inseong Hwang, deputy director Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in Korea revealed that last year’s 204 calls bringing 274,000 passengers is set to double in terms of ship visits this year, a picture also mirrored by Paolo Benito S. Tugbang, director department of tourism of the Philippines who reported calls have doubled compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Mainland China returns

Kenneth Wong, GM, MICE and cruise Hong Kong Tourism Board said regional co-operation is essential in growing the region and he referenced mainland China’s return to international cruising as a game changer for Asia.

After all the good news stories, Wendy Yamazaki, regional VP government relations Asia, Royal Caribbean Group provided a rain-check, picking a handful of issues that need attention in order for a further growth spurt and improved guest satisfaction including more inter regional visa free travel, improved immigration processes, better collaboration among all stakeholders at a local level and crew-friendly policies.

‘Please do not forget the crew members sailing on ships in Asia,’ she said, asking for more crew-related rest facilities in ports, Wi-Fi provision and reasonably priced shore excursions.