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Friday, August 24, 2012, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

Costa Cruises to open India office in Mumbai by October this year; launches 2013 brochure

Partners with STB to operate two ships from MBCCS

In order to tap the growing market of Indians opting for cruise travel, Europe-based Costa Cruises, which appointed Lotus Destinations as their GSA in India in March this year, plans to open its office in Mumbai by October this year. This information was revealed by Alessandro Bottaro, Head of Sales & Marketing, Mediterranean New Markets, India, Africa, Middle East, Costa Crociere S.p.A. “India is potential growth market for Costa Cruises and we want to explore the opportunities in this market by expanding our network. Costa Cruises will set-up its India office in Mumbai by October this year. We will have a marketing, sales and reservations representatives in that office,” Bottaro said. Besides metros, the company is also looking at tapping cities like Pune, Nashik, Surat and Guwahati.

Furthermore, Costa Cruises is targeting to have 10,000 passengers onboard from India in 2013. “Currently, we see demand for packages to Far East Asia from India. Indians on an average opt for a three- to five-day tour, which is a mix of weddings, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences/Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), families and honeymooners. We have to be focused, aggressive and push our products in the market, support the travel trade and organise regular trainings and Familiarisation trips for them,” added Bottaro.  
 
Costa Cruises, in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), has launched an offering for the Indian market to the Far East Asia  - Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica. Designed to meet the Indian taste, the two ships, which will sail from the newly opened Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS), will enable guests to discover the best of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Costa Victoria (75,200 gross tonnage, 2,394 total guests and 964 cabins (30 per cent with balcony) will start the voyage from November 17, 2012 to January 2013 to offer three-, four- and seven-day cruises to Malaysia and Thailand. Costa Atlantica (85,700 gross tonnage and 2,680 total guests and 1057 cabins (64 per cent with balcony) will start three- and four-day cruises to Thailand and Malaysia from May to June 2013. With the exception of a few departures, both itineraries offer free travel for one or two children under the age of 18 if sharing the cabin with two adults. In addition, Costa Cruises launched their 2013 brochure for the Indian market.

Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, said, “With Indians looking for three- to five-day short cruise packages, the products and itineraries of Costa Cruises that caters to upper-middle class onwards people best suits the Indian market.”

Chang Chee Pey, Executive Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa for Singapore Tourism Board, said, “For our visitors from India, Costa Cruises is the latest experiential attraction that will make their stay even more memorable. With the new MBCCS, we will double our berthing capacity and be able to welcome some of the largest cruise ships in the world.”

Singapore is gearing up to become a major cruise hub in Asia. In 2011, Singapore welcomed 394 ship calls and 942,000 in passenger throughput. From 2002 to 2011, the compounded annual growth rate for cruise passenger throughout was 3.6 per cent. In 2012, the cruise landscape becomes even more exciting with major cruise lines either increasing their presence in Southeast Asia or deploying new vessels on maiden calls to Singapore.
 
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