ASEAN signs off on cruise declaration

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SINGAPORE, 29 January 2018: ASEAN’s tourism leaders signed off on a Declaration on Cruise Tourism that was formerly presented by Singapore, the  lead coordinator for cruise developments in the ASEAN region.

The declaration was officially endorsed at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, last Friday, at the closing meeting of ministers and heads of tourism.

Recognising the potential for growth in the region’s cruise market, Singapore’s tourism officials compiled the declaration since the ATF was held in Singapore January 2017.

The strategy that underpins the declaration statement calls for the transformation of Southeast Asia “into a vibrant cruising destination.”

To achieve that goal the declaration calls on member nations to improve the clarity of cruise policies and regulations, efficiency in administration processes, as well as refining business practices to be fairer and more responsible.

“Singapore is proud to announce that the ASEAN states’ collective efforts to develop the ASEAN Declaration for Cruise Tourism have borne fruit,” said Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Sim Ann.

“This builds on our previous work such as the inaugural ATF Cruise Dialogue, last year, and the launch of the Cruise Southeast Asia brand in 2016. It also marks the first major economic deliverable undertaken by Singapore since we assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship for 2018.

“This will deepen regional connectivity and position ASEAN as a region for seamless economic activity and growing opportunities. We look forward to bringing meaningful benefits to ASEAN businesses and citizens,” she concluded in the statement.

The Declaration takes ASEAN a step closer towards achieving its vision of becoming a thriving cruise hub, expanding connectivity within Southeast Asia and driving strong economic contribution to new port-of-calls and their communities.

A rise in cruise tourism will encourage more port and destination infrastructure, encourage ship deployments and create spin off benefits for local tourism industries and stakeholders across the region.

With these developments, the region has the potential to generate up to 4.5 million passengers cruising in Southeast Asia by 2035[1], a 10-fold increase from 2016. Please refer to Annex B​ for more information.

Singapore has much to gain from the increased visitor footfall and spend. The Republic has already built up a strong reputation among travellers as the region’s leading cruising gateway due to its strategic location, modern infrastructure, and  air connectivity globally.

Singapore’s cruise industry has also enjoyed robust growth in recent years: 411 cruise ships called at its ports in 2016, and the country logged a passenger throughput of about 1.2 million in the same year. A recent study by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) found that the cruise industry contributed SGD706 million in direct spend to Singapore’s economy in 2016, an increase of about 36% from 2010[2].

“The future of cruise tourism for both Singapore and Southeast Asia is bright, with strong potential for growth. Cruise development needs to be a concerted regional effort and Singapore will continue to actively engage with our ASEAN counterparts to encourage regional cruise development, and jointly promote Southeast Asia as a cruising playground for the world,” said STB chief executive Lionel Yeo.

[1] Projections by Bermello Ajamil and Partners Inc; Report on Cruise Development in Southeast Asia 2017

[2] Source: STB data, 2010

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