Asia’s thriving cruise destinations set to enrich regional cruise experiences
Sunday, 14th April 2024
Source : Seatrade Cruise Global 2024

Top-notch ports and unparalleled experiences in Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, and Xiamen present richer regional cruise opportunities.

Four of Asia’s most robust cruise destinations, namely Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines and Xiamen, were showcased to global cruise industry leaders and media at an inclusive luncheon themed “The Rebound of Asia's Destinations” on the opening day of Seatrade Cruise Global 2024. The event highlighted the lucrative opportunities and diverse experiences for enriching Asian cruise itineraries.

“We are dedicated to further developing the industry to attract more cruises to the Philippines, with ongoing product enhancement programs for emerging and existing destinations, development of dedicated cruise ports and terminals, and championing favourable cruise-friendly sector-wide policies to support the cruise industry.”

Staying true to the Seatrade event’s theme “Charting New Horizons,” the showcased destinations enthralled guests with comprehensive destination updates and notable developments, inspiring industry leaders to capitalize on the appeal of the four standout cruise destinations, and design novel and enriching programs, offering once-in-a-lifetime cruise journeys in Asia.

Whether it is berthing in Hong Kong to experience the vibrant city with its unique East-meets-West characteristics, sailing towards Korea to enjoy a blend of heritage and K-pop culture, exploring the rich history and oriental charm of Xiamen, or venturing to the Philippines for exotic experiences, the possibilities for unforgettable cruise adventures are endless.

Hong Kong Excites with Mega Events and New Developments

Hong Kong is ramping up its mega events strategy, adding depth and breadth to the city’s events and festivities, which, in turn, enrich onboard and onshore programs for cruise passengers.

Cruise passengers can indulge in diverse range of art and culture experiences, culinary and nightlife adventures, iconic neighborhoods, revitalizing outdoor activities and endless shopping options in Hong Kong. Even more exciting opportunities await at the upcoming world-class Kai Tak Sports Park, situated in the neighborhood of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. The park boasts a main stadium with a seating capacity of 50,000 people, making it an ideal venue for hosting mega events. Additionally, SKYCITY, located adjacent to the Hong Kong International Airport, offers an extensive array of options for retail, dining, and entertainment, further enhancing the overall experience for cruise passengers.

Mr. Kenneth Wong, General Manager, MICE & Cruise at the Hong Kong Tourism Board, highlighted, “Strategically positioned in the heart of Asia and at the doorstep of mainland China, Hong Kong offers convenient visa-free travel and state-of-the-art air-land-sea transportation network. It serves as an ideal homeport for cruise lines to develop alluring fly-cruise and rail-cruise products that incorporate Asia’s exotic and vibrant destinations, as showcased at the luncheon today. Hong Kong captures enormous market potential for regional cruising.”

Korea Beckons with K-culture and New Ports

Korea is gearing up to welcome the global cruise industry as it hosts the 11th Asia Cruise Forum Jeju, scheduled for 10-12 July 2024. The event aims to promote cooperation among international and domestic stakeholders, empowering the sustainable growth of the Asian cruise industry.

The country is preparing two new deep-water cruise ports in Pohang and Daesan. The Pohang Yeongilman Port International Passenger Terminal is nestled within a city blessed with unspoiled natural beauty and abundant tourism resources, and actively engaged in the development of a shopping and resort complex, while the Daesan Port in Seosan serves as a brand-new access point on the west coast, allowing visitors to explore the region renowned for its historic holy grounds, temples, and Buddhist relics.

Mr. In Seong Hwang, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea, shared, “Korea is an attractive cruise destination and the epicenter of K-culture, including K-POP, K-drama and K-food. Coupled with its rich traditional culture and history, magnificent tourist attractions and a plethora of shopping facilities and accommodations, Korea creates an ideal environment for cruise travellers to enjoy sightseeing, unique experiences, shopping and relaxation.”

The Philippines Plans Port Enhancement and Destinations Uplift

Capitalizing on the recognition as Asia’s Best Cruise Destination by the World Cruise Awards in 2023, the Philippines is developing five new cruise ports in Boracay, Coron, Camiguin, Siargao and Puerto Galera.

The Philippines is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, coastal attractions, marine biodiversity, heritage sites and colorful history. The archipelagic nation is also exploring new cruise destinations through ongoing inspections of emerging destinations ready for cruise tourism, such as Cebu and Zamboanga.

Dr. Paulo Benito Tugbang, Director IV for Product and Market Development at the Philippine Department of Tourism, said, “We are dedicated to further developing the industry to attract more cruises to the Philippines, with ongoing product enhancement programs for emerging and existing destinations, development of dedicated cruise ports and terminals, and championing favourable cruise-friendly sector-wide policies to support the cruise industry.”

Xiamen Set to Launch New Smart Cruise Terminal

Hailed as the “Garden on the Sea,” Xiamen is a well-connected air and sea port and ranks as one of China’s four major international shipping centers. The Xiamen International Cruise Terminal 2, set to be operational by September of this year, features smart construction and security screening systems, providing cruise passengers with a stunning experience and convenient clearance.

The terminal is seamlessly connected to a three-floor exhibition hall and Xiamen Sea World, a trendy amusement hub that offers upscale dining options and culturally rich art and entertainment experiences.

Mr. Zhong Hailin, Deputy Director of Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, said, “Xiamen is strategically located in the core area of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and serves as a pivotal hub city for the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative. It boasts breathtaking natural landscapes and an abundance of cultural heritage. Our imposing cruise terminal, along with the Xiamen Airport operating diverse domestic, international, and regional routes, can amply support the development of flexible fly-cruise programs covering domestic and regional destinations.”

The four promising cruise destinations in Asia with their purpose-built cruise infrastructure, exotic cultural appeal, diverse attractions, and welcoming policy support for cruising, offer tremendous potential for global cruise operators seeking new horizons of growth.

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