Indians and Cruising Tourism in Singapore

Cruise tourism is not a new phenomenon, and over the past decade it’s taken a new lease of life and is growing extremely rapidly. Cruising refers to an act of going on a trip on a ship that is meant relaxation voyages.The cruise ship industry is booming and ships are getting bigger, better, more exciting and more experience-driven. In 2019, 30 million passengers are expected to cruise, up from 17.8 million a decade earlier. In Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, the cruise industry is experiencing double-digit growth as cruise lines set their sights on the neighbouring destinations and consumer markets in this part of Asia. With its tropical climate and calm waters, Singapore is ideal for year-round cruising. The region is culturally rich and diverse in destination offerings.

Indian tourists are a big chunk of visitors to Singapore and also Singapore is home to a large and emerging India middle class, which makes it a promising source market for cruise ship deployments.

In a bid to promote cruise tourism among Indian travelers, GB Srithar, Regional Director – India, Middle East and South Asia (IMESA), Singapore Tourism Board, and Lim Si Ting, and Raymond Lim, Area Directors, STB recently organised a small meeting. In the meeting they briefed us on the STB’s approach towards developing Cruise Tourism among Indian Travellers.

Why do you think that Indian should start their cruise experience from Singapore ?

Singapore is located strategically in Southeast Asia, where its excellent air connectivity and world-class port infrastructure make it an ideal hub for cruising in the region. Every year, we welcome new cruise brands and ships to our shores, adding to our vibrant pipeline of deployments.

What are your strategies for Indian travelers?

We are adopting a two-pronged marketing strategy for the Indian outbound cruise market: firstly, to raise awareness and promote cruising as a hassle-free holiday option to the Indian travellers; and secondly, to establish Singapore as their favourite cruise holiday destination, including presenting Singapore’s varied tourism offerings for pre and post cruise experiences in the city. Cruising holidays can appeal to diverse Indian travel segments like families, working millennial, weddings, MICE and those gathering for celebrations.

India continued to be the top source market for VA (visitors’ arrival) in the cruise segment for Singapore. Around 1,60,000 cruise passengers from India sailed out of Singapore’s shores in 2018 with a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent from 2017. An interesting highlight was the average age of an Indian cruiser 37 compared to 46.7 years for a global cruiser and 45.4 years for an Asian cruiser. Also the average stay that an Indian tourist logged was 2.9 days. The future of cruise tourism for both Singapore and the India tourists is bright. The significant development is the rising demand from India’s Tier 2 cities travelers along with a growth in travellers seeking for premium and luxury services.

How you are working to popularize curise tourism in India?

STB organised a Cruise Forum with the theme “Growing Cruise Connections, Achieving Together” in New Delhi recently. We are trying to build a healthy relationship between our travel trade partners, cruise line operators and cruise professionals.

We are also planning to put more efforts in promoting cruise as new venue for weddings, celebrations and MICE. We are looking forward to tap the new segment of festivals like Diwali, Christmas and New Year, and promote Singapore as a Cruising Capital. 

We are also looking forward to partner with more Indian travel agents to provide them with the essential training, resources and support to sell more cruise holidays in India.

You mentioned that there is a big upward surge in the number of Indian cruise tourists. How do you plan to cope with the increasing numbers?

Yes, we already can see a big numbers coming into Singapore and opting for cruises.  We have been working with the leading cruise liners to increase the capacities and also to introduce new facilities.

STB, Genting Cruise Lines and Changi Airport Group, has partnered to promote Genting Dream and is expected to bring in 600,000 overseas visitors and more than S$ 250 million in tourism receipts.

In association with the cruise lines and Changi Airport, STB is planning to provide facilities at the airport itself. As soon as the tourist lands, his luggage is transferred to the cruise line while he/she goes on the city tour and shopping in Singapore. Once done with his land tourism, he/she can come to the ship and check into the room where his/her luggage has already reached.

Ships are getting bigger, like Genting Dream, with over 3,300 passenger capacity is double its predecessor SuperStar Gemini’s capacity and Royal Caribbean International’s recent announcement that Asia’s largest ship, the Quantum of the Seas, will be refreshed and upgraded, before it returns to Singapore between November 2019 and April 2020 for a six-month deployment, are some of the changes planned in the shipping sector.

What kinds of activities are offered on a cruise?

A cruise holiday offers diverse offerings from zipline to foam parties and caters to a wide range of travellers. We are committed to provide exceptional hospitality services, varied culinary experiences and modified itineraries.

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