Asia cruise market breaks record

SINGAPORE 7 May 2019 – Asia’s cruise passenger source market hit a new high in 2018 with 4.24 million people taking an ocean cruise, up 4.6% year-on-year, according to data released Monday by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Asia continues to be the cruise industry’s third largest market after North America and Europe, the CLIA figures show, maintaining a 14.8% share of global ocean passenger volume (28.5 million) for 2018.

Most of the source markets in Asia saw year-on-year gains in 2018 except Mainland China and Malaysia. In particular, passenger volume from Singapore, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam had double-digit growth.

Mainland China retained its dominance as a source market, accounting for 55.8% of all Asian passengers, though the Chinese market has been going through a period of adjustment and saw a marginal 1.6% decline in passengers.

The more measured increase in Asia’s passenger volume did not come as a surprise as cruise ship capacity dipped in 2018 after years of rapid expansion in this region. Asia’s slowdown in ship capacity is due to the strong demand for cruise ships worldwide, and reduced short cruise itinerary options ex-mainland China.

“In the next few years, cruising in Asia is expected to continue growing in popularity with the arrival of new ships in 2019/2020 including from Costa Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises,” said CLIA managing director for Australasia & Asia Joel Katz.

“We also see several Asian destinations building new infrastructure to support cruise development,” he said. “Consumer interest in cruise has also been rising as Asian travellers discover the ease, relaxation and value of a cruise vacation.”

The above figures were released as part of the 2018 official global cruise industry numbers reported by CLIA.

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