ASEAN States Agree to Develop Cruise Tourism
A joint ASEAN Declaration on Cruise Tourism, led by Singapore, was officially endorsed at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 in Thailand, last week.
Plans for the Declaration were first laid at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 in Singapore, and its official adoption a year later marks a milestone in ASEAN’s ongoing efforts to transform Southeast Asia into a vibrant cruising destination.
The Declaration also ASEAN’s commitment improve the clarity of cruise policies and regulations and efficiency in administration processes.
A rise in cruise tourism is expected to spur developments in port and destination infrastructure, catalyze ship deployments and spin off benefits for local tourism industries and stakeholders across the region. ASEAN believes that with these developments, the region has the potential to generate growth of up to 4.5 million passengers cruising in Southeast Asia by 2035, a 10-fold increase from 2016.
Singapore has much to gain from increased cruise business. The nation has already built up a strong reputation among travelers as the region’s leading cruising gateway due to its strategic location, modern infrastructure and unparalleled air connectivity. Singapore’s cruise industry has also enjoyed robust growth in recent years: 411 cruise ships called at its ports in 2016, and the country logged a passenger throughput of about 1.2 million in the same year. A recent study by the Singapore Tourism Board found that the cruise industry contributed S$706 million ($540 million) in direct spend to Singapore's economy in 2016, an increase of about 36 percent from 2010.