Cruise passenger volumes double in Asia; Sri Lanka eyes market

cruise ship

June 09, 2016 (LBO) – Asian cruise passenger volume nearly doubled to almost 1.4 million in 2014, from 775,000 in 2012, according to a report by the Cruise Lines International Association.

The association says demand for cruising has increased 68 percent over the last 10 years, and Asia had a passenger capacity of 2.2 million in 2015.

“There is no doubt that the Asia Pacific region from Beijing through Sydney, through Auckland, through Singapore, is the fastest growing cruise segment,” said Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President of Royal Caribbean’s International division, according to a Bloomberg report.

Singapore, which has ambitions of becoming a cruise hub in Southeast Asia, saw passenger traffic rise 14 percent in 2015, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

“Over the next three to four years, we are quite optimistic that we could see a five to eight percent compounded annual growth rate for the cruising industry in Singapore,” said Annie Chang, Director of Cruise Development for the city state’s tourism agency.

In ten years, Australia’s cruise passengers have grown more than six-fold to one million passengers in 2014, from 158,000 in 2004.

Sri Lanka is hoping to attract cruise ships calling at its Colombo, Hambantota and Trincomalee Ports, Dhammika Ranatunga, Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman said.

The Colombo Fashion Week swimwear show will be hosted at the ECT Terminal of the Colombo Port this month to create awareness about the Colombo Port, he added.

In February, the Hambantota Port received MS Rotterdam, a luxury cruise ship from the Netherlands. Measuring 238 metres with 600 staff, it is one of the largest cruise ships to visit the island.

Sri Lanka will have to compete with the latest addition to the Asian routes, the 1 billion dollar Ovation of the Seas. Royal Caribbean took delivery of the ship in April, and it is on a 52-day voyage to its home port in the Chinese city of Tianjin.

The German-built ship stretches 1,141 feet, more than triple the length of a soccer pitch.

The ship would offer “bionic mixologists,” robotic arms that make and serve two cocktails a minute for more than 4,900 passengers the ship is built to carry.  They can also try the world’s first simulated skydiving experience offered at sea, or while away the hours in the largest indoor sports and entertainment space among Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

The ship has 2090 rooms while the interior cabins are fitted with nearly 7-foot-tall HD television screens that serve as virtual balconies, offering real-time views of the ocean. For a bird’s eye view, there is an observation capsule that rises and rotates 300 feet above sea level, providing guests with 360-degree visibility.

The Cruise Lines International Association report can be viewed here