SINGAPORE, 7 July 2022: Southeast Asia welcomed its first cruise port call in over two years when Royal Caribbean’s (RCI) Spectrum of the Seas arrived at Malaysia’s Port Klang on 1 July.
It was followed closely by Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream, which will call at Indonesia’s Batam and Bintan on 2 July. Both cruise ships are based out of Singapore.
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the first Southeast Asian countries to resume port calls since cruising was halted in March 2020. Coupled with positive discussions to resume similar calls in more ports and the alignment of health protocols across the region, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) predicts the cruise industry in Singapore to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024.
“The resumption of port calls is an important milestone for Singapore and the region,” said STB chief executive Keith Tan. “It has been made possible by the strong partnership and collective commitment in ASEAN to grow the cruise industry. Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to strengthen the region’s attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market.”
Sailing towards a strong recovery
Prior to COVID-19, Singapore’s cruise industry enjoyed robust growth while over 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands made the destination a port of call in 2019, with year-on-year growth in passenger throughput of more than 1.8 million that year.
Singapore is now rebuilding its strong pipeline of cruise ship deployments and working with cruise lines to expand their customer base – from regional markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia to mid and long-haul markets such as India, Australia, Germany, the UK and the US.
Since Singapore restarted cruising in November 2020, over half a million passengers have sailed on nearly 370 ‘cruise to nowhere’ sailings. As more ships offer varied itineraries for cruising out of Southeast Asia, these new cruisers are expected to support a strong rebound for the industry.
“We are committed to Singapore’s vision to be a premier cruise hub in Asia. Together with STB, we look forward to growing the cruise sector, including the fly-cruise segment; and to making Singapore and Southeast Asia one of the largest year-round cruise destinations in the world,” said Resorts World Cruises president Michael Goh.
A flying start to cruise
The fly-cruise segment is also a key growth area that is expected to rebound strongly, given Singapore’s reopening to all vaccinated travellers and the resumption of port calls. Prior to Covid-19, 70% of Singapore’s cruise passengers were international visitors travelling to Singapore to take a cruise to explore Southeast Asia. The strong demand for fly-cruise will add to Singapore’s appeal as a homeport for cruise lines.
STB continues to offer the Cruise Development Fund to encourage cruise lines to homeport in Singapore. Cruise agents can tap the grant to develop and market cruise packages.