ASEAN countries team up to drive cruise tourism

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Singapore will host 374 cruise ship port calls in 2015 (photo by Nadezhda1906)
Singapore will host 374 cruise ship port calls in 2015 (photo by Nadezhda1906)

Four Southeast Asian countries have teamed up to promote the region’s cruise industry.

Under a unified ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) banner, representatives from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines joined forces to highlight the region’s cruise potential at the recent Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM) event.

This marks the first time ASEAN countries have worked together in this way.

“Southeast Asia has bountiful potential to be the next cruising playground of the world,” said Annie Chang, deputy director of cruise at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “I’m thus pleased to be able to come together with our ASEAN neighbours to show key cruise stakeholders what this region can offer.

“Our region is incredibly rich and diverse… [and] we also enjoy a year-round tropical climate and calm waters, making it very conducive for year-round cruising. Many international cruise brands are already doing seasonal home-porting here but there is so much more to be made known still, and the co-location of our booths was thus an excellent platform to do just that,” she added.

Guests at CSM were treated to traditional cultural performances
Guests at CSM were treated to traditional cultural performances

The ASEAN delegation also held a special reception for guests in Miami, which saw regional dishes such as satay and mango with sticky rice served to guests, and traditional dance performances from Thailand and the Philippines.

“A cruise vacation can’t happen with just one port so it’s heartening to see our ASEAN neighbours sharing a common objective, which is to seize the opportunities on the massive potential in the region,” said Mitchelle Dy, the Philippine Department of Tourism’s director in New York.

“I truly believe Southeast Asia can become a major player in the cruising world, and judging by how the guests enjoyed themselves at our reception, hopefully the seeding of our region in their minds will eventually grow into a blossoming cruise industry within ASEAN.”

According to a recent report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Malaysia will handle a total of 580 cruise ship port calls in 2015 – the second highest in the whole of Asia, after Japan. Singapore and Thailand (374 each) are both in the top five.

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