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Kai Tak expects to surpass last year's 138 cruise calls in 2024

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.jpg
Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, which will receive eight inaugural calls in 2024
Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal received 138 cruise calls in 2023 and predicts that number will increase for 2024. 

Already it has several inaugural calls planned, indicating a solid recovery for the Chinese cruise market from the pandemic. 

2024 outlook

Jeff Bent, MD for Worldwide Cruise Terminals which operates Kai Tak said, ‘The future for cruising is bright again, and we expect more calls by a wider variety of lines in 2024, including eight inaugural calls.’ 

He continued, ‘Hong Kong has done much to improve the attractiveness and infrastructure for cruising over the last few years… We believe all these, in addition to recently-added transportation links, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the High-Speed Rail, and the third runway system scheduled for completion this year, will boost Hong Kong’s international connectivity for cruise passengers, provide more options for pre- and post-trip excursions in the Greater Bay Area, and make Hong Kong a more attractive destination and homeport.’ 

A wave of attractions have emerged in the Kowloon Cultural District; closer to the cruise terminal is a new Kai Tak metro station, and there is a new road connection, bus routes and services.

Last year saw Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific held in Hong Kong - the first Seatrade Cruise event to take place in the region since the pandemic. It showed that coordinated development of cruising between Hong Kong and Shanghai is planned, and widespread construction of large-scale cruise ships in China is on the horizon, as the country sets ambitious cruise industry goals. 

Calls at 75% of pre-pandemic levels

On March 8, WCT witnessed the return of international calls to Kai Tak for the first time in three years and the commencement of new homeport operations by Resorts World Cruises.

‘The return of international ship calls and a new homeport deployment marked a positive restart for both cruising and Hong Kong,’ added Bent. ‘We were delighted to host cruise ships again for the first time in a year, and welcome international ship calls and visitors back for the first time in three years.’ 

He noted, ‘Ship calls in our 10 active months reached 75% of pre-pandemic full year levels, and we retained local market share of around 90% of cruise passengers.’ 

Key moments of 2023 

November 16 saw WCT host a cruise selling seminar at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal to help rebuild the local travel trade, attended by 50 Hong Kong-based travel agents. Participants were invited by the Travel Industry Council, and the training session was carried out by Peter Kollar, head of international training & development for Cruise Lines International Association Australasia. 

It coincided with the inaugural call of Celebrity Solstice, giving agents the chance to kick off the day-long programme with a tour of the vessel, followed by a buffet lunch in the terminal and learning about the growth opportunities available from selling cruises.

On April 6, WCT received ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 certifications, picking up 16 awards and accreditations altogether in 2023. 

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal hosted various events, such as performances by a local boy band for their fan clubs, a luxury marque car launch and experience days, an international sporting competition, and more, and was the backdrop for film and luxury brand commercial shoots.