Asian cruise market witnesses growth, presents opportunities for travel agents

Published on : Friday, August 12, 2016

Norwegian-Joy-e1470987230928According to the 2016 Asia Cruise Trends Study presented by the Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA, the Asian cruise market has been witnessing rapid growth thanks to the 60 cruise ships sailing in this part of the world.

Cindy D’Aoust, CEO and president, CLIA has said that the Asian cruise market is the fastest growing on the high seas and presents a golden opportunity for travel agents who aim for Asia. He went on to add that in the following 10 years, the Asian cruise market has immense potential to surpass the cruising market of North America.


The CLIA report has stated that 2016 would witness 1,560 sailings that marks a 43% rise over 2015. And, this year, the cruise ships would be equipped with a capacity of at least 2.3 million passengers. In 2013, the number of cruise ships sailing on Asian waters were just 43, while it was 52 in the year 2015. However, this year, the number has risen to 60.

A majority of the larger cruise liners have ships in the region of Asia, particularly in China. The ‘Norwegian Joy’ is the very first cruise ship belonging to the Norwegian Cruise Line that has been created for the Chinese market, and it would be launched next year in summer. ‘Ovation’ of Royal Caribbean would be spending time in its inaugural year.

On the other hand, Carnival Spirit would be the first ship of the Carnival Cruise Line to sail out of the country of China in the year 2018.

The report said that the steep increase in passengers can be traced to the Asia-Pacific region. The highest year-on-year growth in ocean cruise passengers has been witnessed in Asia that accounts for 24% and it amounts to 2.08 million passengers. Almost a million of these passengers are from China alone, as calculated in 2015.

Japan is also close on the heels of China, reporting about 1,526 sailings this year. Jeju Island located in South Korea is the most visited port this year thanks to its 260 calls.

Cindy D’Aoust said that such a growing Asian cruise market is likely to offer fresh opportunities for travel agents by presenting them an ‘entirely new market’. She also said that irrespective of the fact that whether passengers were from the US, Australia or Europe, the cruise ships of Asia are well-equipped with all kinds of amenities that would make cruise experience unforgettable for all travellers.


D’Aoust believes that the interest for Asia is actually motivated by three things. Firstly, the presence of several destinations in this area, secondly, the degree of personalization provided by cruise lines and the thrill of travelling to a new destination on an ocean liner.

She feels that cruising is a much better alternative than a conventional land vacation as it is easier to check in and check out of the cruise ship.


Next, she also added that the highest growth prospects are associated with experienced tourists who feel a social connection to Asia are always eager to try out new things.

Finally, she said that CLIA has been providing skillsets, business planning and production for training every quarter in order to enable agents to be familiarized with the ports offered in Asia.

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