Explosive cruising boom continues in Asia

Explosive cruising boom continues in Asia
Costa Asia recently celebrated ten years of cruising in Asia

A total of 2.08 million Asian travellers took an ocean cruise in 2015, marking a 24% growth in the region’s source markets since 2014, according to a new Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report.

CLIA’s 2016 Asia Cruise Trends study found that Asia experienced the highest year-over-year rise in ocean cruise passengers last year.

Between 2012 and 2015, the number of Chinese passengers grew at an annual compound rate of 66%, with a 40% growth rate in 2015 alone. In total, 986,000 passengers were from mainland China, representing close to half of the Asian volume, compared to 703,000 in 2014. In both 2014 and 2015, China has been the world's fastest growing major source market.

“While we expected Asia to experience record-breaking growth in cruise travel, we are astonished at the rate at which the region is emerging as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the world,” said Zinan Liu, chair of CLIA North Asia. “The Asia Cruise Trends project has again developed extremely valuable data on what is happening in Asian cruising, its current size and recent growth trends.”

“The cruise industry has been nimble and responded quickly to the demand for cruise travel in Asia by delivering cruise ships with amenities and experiences tailored to Asian travellers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “Asian cruise travel continues to deliver a growing number of enticing opportunities for international guests to visit Asia's fascinating destinations."

Almost 30% of Asian passengers opted for two- to three-night cruises, while half chose four- to six-night itineraries and 19% took a seven- to 13-night voyage. As a result, the average length of cruises taken by Asian passengers has increased slightly from 5.2 nights in 2014 to 5.3 nights in 2015.

Last year, more than 80% of these passengers cruised within more than 204 destinations across 17 countries in Asia. Only 16% flew to cruise destinations outside the region, primarily in Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean.

This year, Japan will be the most popular destination and is set to host 1,526 port calls in 2016, followed by China (850), South Korea (745), Vietnam (466) Malaysia (422) and Singapore (391). The most visited port in 2016 will be Jeju Island, South Korea (460 calls), closely followed by Shanghai (437), Singapore (391) and Fukuoka (258).

In 2016, a total of 60 ocean cruise ships will sail in Asia versus 43 ships in 2013 and 52 in 2015. A total of 14 will operate year-round, while 12 offer extended deployments in Asia. Many of these ships will feature new onboard offerings, dining venues and cuisine, and entertainment tailored to Asian guests.

In addition, the number of available ocean cruises will rise by 43% to 1,560 sailings in 2016. There has also been a significant increase in the number of days cruise ships are in operation, from 4,307 operating days in 2013 to 7,918 in 2016.

Total passenger capacity in Asia will surge by 51% to reach 3.2 million in 2016.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Friday, August 12, 2016