BANGKOK, 16 September 2022: Celebrity Cruises sees strong bookings from the Thai market as restrictions ease and consumers adapt and review their travel purchases in the post-pandemic era.
Celebrity Cruises executives heading sales in the Asia Pacific are monitoring a solid uptick in cruise bookings in the Thai market, especially non-group bookings.
Celebrity Cruises director of sales & marketing – Asia, Adrian Au, led a recent sales mission to meet with Thai travel agencies in Bangkok to exchange ideas and listen to feedback. The sales team introduced booking tools to enable travel agents to sell cruises on Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, and Celebrity Beyond.
In addition, Au announced the brand will be welcoming another new ship Celebrity Ascent, which will join the fleet in late 2023. The team also announced their plans for repositioning itineraries aboard Celebrity Edge and introducing new Asian itineraries that make Celebrity more appealing to the Thai and Southeast Asia markets.
“There is an opportunity next year. Celebrity Edge will relocate from Rome to Sydney. The ship will travel from Rome to Dubai, Singapore, and finally Sydney. It is the first time Celebrity Edge will come to Asia, so it’s a good opportunity to experience the flagship without flying long-haul. Guests can experience the difference in Edge Class, such as the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform, and Infinite Veranda cabins. In Asia, they can book on Dubai and get off in Singapore or book on Singapore and get off in Sydney. The bookings are near full capacity,” he explained.
Asia itineraries coming in 2024 will see Celebrity introducing a Singapore to Bali cruise on Celebrity Millennium. The cruise departs Singapore and goes up to Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand, and down to Bali. Another exotic Asia itinerary on Celebrity Millennium is the Spice Route, highlighting cultural destinations in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Singapore.
“We believe that Asia will return very strongly, which is why we are investing and putting our ships in this region. These itineraries make Celebrity a lot more accessible to the market.”
Au noted the cruise line is experiencing strong bookings from the Thai market.
“Europe and Alaska cruises have been popular among Thai travellers, but we also see that Thai travellers are not just going to the usual destinations. They are trying something more exotic such as South America, where our Celebrity Flora, designed with environmentally friendly technology, brings guests to experience unique destinations such as Galapagos and Machu Picchu in the all-inclusive package.”
However, Au pointed to the Gen X population in Thailand, who are looking for new experiences.
“We have seen that bookings from the FIT are very strong, while incentive groups are coming back, so we are also seeing strong inquiries from the sector.”
But the main factor that helps to support the cruise traveller market from Thailand is the ease of travel restrictions.
“Right now, there are a lot of external factors that are coming to play. For example, a long-wait and difficult visa process, limited flight capacity and expensive air tickets can sometimes be more expensive than the cruise trip itself. We see that people want to travel, but they encounter bottlenecks.”
To avoid these problems, he says travellers should book early. “We have to educate the market that if you want to go on a cruise, you better book early. If you book ahead, you can get your visa sorted out. You can book your flights in advance for much more reasonable prices.”
As for the role of travel agencies: “We are here to listen to their feedback, what the trade wants and needs, and we will do what we can to accommodate and help the trade.”
He added, “We find that trade recovery is significant. We understand that the travel industry has been through a very challenging time, and we are here to help the trade get back on its feet.”