HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, China

Asia's cruise passenger market up 4.6% to 4.24 million in 2018

China remains the top source market, accounting for 55.8% of Asian passengers.

Asia’s cruise passenger source market hit a new high in 2018, with 4.24 million people going on an ocean cruise, up 4.6% YoY, according to data released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Most of the source markets in Asia saw year-on-year gains in 2018, including Singapore (39.9% to 373,000), India (28.1% to 221,000), Indonesia (54.9% to 72,000), Philippines (49.1% to 61,000), South Korea (13.5% to 44,000), Thailand (14.5% to 30,000) and Vietnam (53.7% to 10,000).

Meanwhile, data showed that mainland China retained its dominance as a source market, accounting for 55.8% of all Asian passengers, though the Chinese market has been going through a period of adjustment and saw a marginal 1.6% decline in passengers.

The more measured increase in Asia’s passenger volume did not come as a surprise, as cruise ship capacity dipped in 2018 after years of rapid expansion in this region, according to the report. Asia’s slowdown in ship capacity is due to the strong demand for cruise ships worldwide, and reduced short cruise itinerary options ex-mainland China.

“In the next few years, cruising in Asia is expected to continue growing in popularity with the arrival of new ships in 2019/2020 including from Costa Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises,” CLIA managing director for Australasia & Asia Joel Katz explained.

Asia continues to be the cruise industry’s third largest market after North America and Europe, the CLIA figures show, maintaining a 14.8% share of the total global ocean passenger volume (28.5 million) for 2018.

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