ASEAN cruise portal unveiled

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cruise Working Group launched
a new cruise portal at the annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping
Convention in Miami. The portal provides vital information on 10 Southeast Asian
cruise destinations including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to be the next growth area in the cruise
industry.  It is predicted that cruise passengers in the Asia Pacific region
will grow by more than 40% from 1.07 million in 2005, to 1.5 million by 2010,
reaching 2 million in 2015 1. Asia currently holds a 5% share of the world’s
cruise market.

Mr Kevin Leong, Chairman of the ASEAN Cruise Working Group and Singapore Tourism
Board Senior Director (Special Projects) said: “The new cruise portal aims to
introduce Asia as a cruise destination to the global cruise industry and enable
busy cruise executives to access detailed Southeast Asian port information
online to plan and develop new cruise products for Asia.  We have a two-year
plan which is aimed at strengthening and catalysing the growth of the region’s
cruise industry. Our priorities are to introduce Asian cruising to the world and
ensure that we have the systems in place to welcome our guests.”

The ASEAN Cruise Working Group is also working towards providing relevant
training for travel agents to equip them with the vital cruise product
knowledge.  As well as engaging and building strong working relations with the
industry and cruise partners, other areas of co-operation include infrastructure
development, marketing and promotion and human resource development.

Michael Dupont, European sales and marketing director for Star Cruises, the only
cruise line with year-round South East Asian itineraries said:


“Star Cruises has operated in South East Asia for the last 14 years and firmly
believes in the international appeal of cruising in the region.  Star Cruises
currently offers access to 18 diverse destinations from two ships homeported
year-round in Singapore; a clear indication of the appeal of cruising in the

“Bringing travellers to Singapore from around the world, including the UK,  to
combine cruises with city breaks in the destination is a key area of growth for
Star Cruises.  Short three and five-night cruises aboard the SuperStar Virgo
attract first-time cruisers, whilst the SuperStar Gemini remains popular with
seasoned cruisers who enjoy combining the destination with longer seven, 10, 11,
14, and 21-night cruises.

“Star Cruises looks forward to remaining at the forefront of the growing cruise
market in South East Asia and working in partnership with the Singapore Tourist
Board and ASEAN to raise the profile of cruising in the Far East.”


Singapore’s £3.4 million (S$10 million) Singapore Fly-Cruise Development Fund
(FCDF),  launched in May 2006, illustrates the importance ASEAN countries are
placing on the cruise industry.  The fund is designed to encourage major
international cruise companies to partner Singapore in product development and
marketing initiatives.  It is being used to promote products to in-market travel
agents as well as to fund promotions and publicity. The fund was set up jointly
by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
(CAAS)  and the Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC) and is being administered by the

In 2006 Singapore welcomed 35,448 cruise visitors from Europe, representing an
increase of 45% over 24,386 visitors in 2005.  The UK cruise market showed the
biggest growth rate within Europe last year.  The number of Britons taking
cruises grew by 12% to 1.2 million in 2006 and an estimated 1.3 million British
cruise holidaymakers are expected this year.  This figure is expected to rise by
a further 300,000 to 1.5 million in 20082.

As one of the fastest-growing segments in leisure travel, the cruise industry
plays an important part in the STB’s strategy to realise the Tourism 2015 vision
to double visitor arrivals to 17 million and triple tourism receipts to £10
billion (S$30 billion). “The creation of the Fly Cruise Development Fund is a
strong signal to the cruise community of Singapore’s commitment to growing the
cruise business in the region. The fund will enable Singapore to partner more
cruise operators and encourage them to deploy their ships to our part of the
world.” said Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, STB.