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Monday, 30 October, 2017, 11 : 12 AM [IST]

Cruise Tourism, Gaining Momentum in India

The cruise sector in Asia is entering an exciting phase of growth with enormous potential, as much of it remain relatively untapped. Asia is fast emerging as the new growth frontier for the global cruise tourism industry, both as a source market and a cruise destination with China paving the way, together with countries in the region following suit, including India.

The dawn of the Asian cruise is here and Genting Hong Kong and its Genting Cruise Lines division, which consist of Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises, continue to be at the forefront, taking the lead in stimulating the cruise tourism sector in Asia. The company’s founding cruise line brand, Star Cruises had pioneered and built the Asian cruise industry since 1993, introducing a series of ‘Firsts’ across the region. Today Genting Cruise Lines provides a wide range of products from contemporary cruises to ultra-luxurious vacation experience spanning the sea to the air across the region and globally.

With the tourism industry representing one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide, cruising is gaining a greater share in the global ‘tourism pie’. India has strong potential and the opportunities to seize a sizeable market share for itself. We know this as India is no stranger to Genting Hong Kong and its Genting Cruise Lines division, having Star Cruises first homeported in Mumbai since 2005, calling upon various local ports as well. The growth momentum of the local cruise market in India as a source market and a cruise destination has been very positive. We are optimistic of this steady growth in India as cruising is fast reaching a wider leisure demographic market with evolving trends that point towards India’s potential to be one of the leading cruise hubs.

India is a huge country and is blessed with natural beauty and rich with a colourful heritage and culture. Underpinned by these strong factors, India also has a vast, long scenic coast line with access to several natural ports, perfect for the cruising sector, creating a natural advantage to welcome and attract more international cruise liners. However, for the Indian cruise sector to flourish, the port terminals and infrastructure need to be upgraded and well-equipped, as well as to adopt cruise-friendly measures and international policies.

Recently, the Indian government announced its first cruise tourism policy to increase cruise liner traffic by 10-fold to 700 vessels a year, as well as developing world-class port berths for cruise ships with simplified security and immigration processes to facilitate a seamless experience for travelling cruise passengers. These initiatives indeed are a right step forward and will definitely contribute positively to the development of the cruise tourism as one of India’s economic growth engine. Moving ahead, the Indian government will first develop Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi as cruise hubs, and we welcome such plans and will continue to work closely with the local authorities in lending assistance, support and feedback with regards to the development of the overall cruise tourism in India.

With a solid cruise policy and port infrastructure being planned, one can expect India to be an enviable location in Asia in the near future with its strategic and close proximity to already many popular Asian cruise destinations, allowing the country to be part of a strong cruise circuit with attractive itineraries. Also, India’s increasing domestic and international tourism sector, supported by a burgeoning middle class will also be a key driving force behind the growth of India’s cruise tourism industry. These evolving trends across the region has allowed Genting Cruise Lines to focus Star Cruises catering to the Asian contemporary market segment, Dream Cruises for the high-end market in Asia and Crystal Cruises for the global luxury market.

Besides that, the cruise tourism will also benefit and have a positive spill-over effect on other tourism elements such as inbound and outbound flights through fly-Cruise packages, hotel accommodations, public transportation, retail as well as F&B and more, while concurrently creating more business and job opportunities homeports and ports of call cities. With an encouraging and thriving environment backdrop, we optimistic of India’s future as one of the leading cruise hubs and the country’s role in growing the Asian cruise tourism industry collectively in the region. We will continue to take on a symbiotic role with the local authorities and ministries, actively educating and promoting the concept and the benefits of cruising to the different target audiences in India, as well as providing the necessary ‘tools’ and skillsets to local travel agents. At present, Genting Cruise Lines is developing ports in Guangzhou, Manila, North Bali and Shimizu with local partners and will be developing more as we deploy our ships to new destinations in Asia.

 
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