Asia to lead cruise growth

Egham: Over the past ten years (2003-2013), cruise capacity allocated by international cruise lines to the Asia Pacific region rose from an estimated 1.5 million to 9.8m berth-days, an increase of 543%, far higher than other regions, according to a new report from the UK’s Ocean Shipping Consultants (OSC). By contrast, growth for the Caribbean in the same period stood at 36%.  
 
Current major lines operating in Asia Pacific include Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, RCI, CCL, HAL, and Star Cruises. 11 major cruise lines have ships homeported in Asia Pacific.
 
Major brands such as Silversea and Seabourn have also joined this market recently, offering expedition services which are increasingly gaining popularity especially in Southeast Asia. 
 
“As a result,” OSC reported, “ports that were predominantly served only by localised cruises and geared to local markets, are now becoming part of internationally-geared cruise itineraries.”
 
The highest growth of tourist arrivals in the next two decades are anticipated to be from Asia Pacific, with aggregate tourist numbers arriving at Asia Pacific forecast to amount to 355m by 2020 and 535m by 2030. The figure stood at 217m in 2011, OSC noted.
 
“The challenges facing Asia Pacific cruise ports stem from not only the sheer volume of cruise passengers, but also the ever increasing size of cruise ships, and the requirement for suitable home-ports to better serve the regional markets,” OSC reported in its outlook for cruise shipping through to 2025.  [24/01/14]

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