Taking to the high seas
CHINA is poised to become the second largest global cruise market after the United States by 2017.
The projection would be a giant leap for the industry, especially given that the Chinese only make up 6% to 7% of the global cruise market today.
But in 2017, the number of cruise passengers from the Asian giant is expected to reach 3.7 million.
From there, the figure could double to more than 7 million by 2020, says a new report released via the World Trade Market in London.
In recent years, the cruise industry has recognised Asia as a source of major growth, pulling off a string of milestones and developments in the region.
For example, last summer Hong Kong opened its US$1.1bil (RM3.62bil) cruise terminal which is set to become a major hub for luxury liners in Asia.
The first mega ship to dock at the port – formerly the site of the Kai Tak Airport – was the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner Of The Seas, a 311m-long vessel.
China’s first luxury liner, the Henna, was also inaugurated earlier last year – which the government declared Marine Tourism Year – sailing between the southern tip of the country and Vietnam.
While Carnival already has a presence in Asia through its Costa brand, the company announced plans to bring the Sapphire Princess to Singapore from November this year to February next year.
And over at Royal Caribbean, the number of Chinese passengers quadrupled from 25,000 to 100,000 between 2011 and 2012.
This year, that figure is expected to double to 200,000.
After China, the Asian Cruise Association predicts Myanmar, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam to become major port destinations. – AFP Relaxnews
asia, especially China, is a source of major growth in the cruise industry. — aFP photo