Travel agents will provide the vanguard for Southeast Asia’s nascent cruise sector, which is not currently fulfilling its potential.
Speaking at the Global Cruise Tourism Conference 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Farriek Tawfik, director of Southeast Asia for Princess Cruises, said: “Training for travel agents is key to unlocking the regional cruise industry’s potential and cruise operators should make this their priority.”
Cruise tourism in Asia is a rapidly evolving market with an expected 3.5 million cruise passenger arrivals by 2017. The industry has significant potential and is already displaying healthy growth as international cruise operators to expand aggressively in the region, capitalising on Southeast Asia’s strategic geographical location and tropical climate.
Despite the potential of the market however, the lack of awareness of cruising as a vacation choice remains a huge barrier. Mr. Tawfik said that it is therefore vital for cruise operators to work closely with travel agents and government partners to educate consumers on the benefits of cruise travelling.
Tawfik also suggested several other strategies that international cruise operators could employ to grow their business in Southeast Asia, such as providing tailored offerings to suit the tastes and preferences of Southeast Asian passengers, and establishing strong relationships with key stakeholders.