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Growth of the Asia Cruise Market

Following the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) release of the Comprehensive Report on Asia Cruise Trends; it’s clear to see how much influence the Far East could have on cruise travel in the near future. In some fields, the report depicts double-digit growth with big gains in the number of passengers, port visits and capacity growth. This week, GoCruise Franchise takes a closer look at some of the findings from the report.

Capacity and Port Boost

The decision for Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas to be deployed from China from May 2015 may have come as a shock to some, but she will join a long list of big name ships already in the region. Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium will be deployed in Asia for most of Asia along with Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica and many other big name cruise ships from the likes of Azamara and Regent Seven Seas. A total of 52 cruise ships will operate in Asia in 2015, a 10% increase on 2013.

To put this into perspective, between 2013 – 2015, Asia has seen a 20% increase in passenger capacity and it is expected to reach 2.2 million by the end of the year. Asia has quickly established itself as a competitive cruise market, gaining the fourth largest share in the cruise market (tied with Australia/New Zealand/Pacific).

Cruise Capacity by Region

Between 2013 – 2015, Asia gained the highest percentage increase in cruise capacity with a 2.43 percentage point change – higher than any other region in the world. Australia/New Zealand/Pacific saw a 1.05% gain and the Caribbean also saw gains of 1.29%. Interestingly, Europe – the region with the second highest percentage share – endured losses in cruise capacity share during the same period. The Mediterranean saw the biggest loss with a 2.3% loss, whilst the rest of Europe saw an additional 0.47% loss.

The number of cruises due to commence in 2015 has risen to 1,065 sailings - with 5,824 operating this year compared to 4,307 in 2013.

Whilst growth in the industry as a whole is clear to see, it is staggering to see how much appreciation there is for cruising across the Far East. 22 new ships are set to debut this year and, according to CLIA, cruise lines are starting to recognise the need to offer the biggest and best ships to the region. Cruise ships that can offer amenities and facilities for multi-generational families and adapted menus are all featuring on board cruise ships across the Far East. 

This appears to be working as between 2012 – 2014 the number of Asian passengers grew by 34% in consecutive years. This has led to a huge 79% increase compared to two years ago, rising from 774,536 passengers in 2012 to 1,398,037 passengers in 2014. 

Asia Cruise Passengers

Whilst Asia has seen considerable growth in terms of the cruise industry, mainland China has accounted for nearly 50% of the passenger source volume. China currently has a 697,316 passenger market; increasing by 480,615 (79%) between 2012 – 2014. Other ports such as Hong Kong, India, Japan and Taiwan have also seen considerable growth over the same period.

With 168 destinations across 18 different countries; visiting the region by cruise ship is one of the best ways to see Far East Asia. This is great not only for visitors but for economies across the whole of Asia with a collective 34% overall increase in port calls since 2013.

The most successful ports include those in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong. Of a list of 10, ports in Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong all saw the highest level of growth – with Hong Kong alone an increase in port calls between 2013 – 2015 of nearly 100%.

Port Call Growth

Demographics and Cruising Habits

Whilst Asia has so many exciting locations to visit and vibrant ports to explore; many of the cruises in the region only allow passengers to explore smaller regions. 38% of all cruises in Asia are 2-3 nights in duration and 48% are 4-6 nights in duration; whilst only 12% are 7-13 nights. This is possibly due to work habits, as workers generally have a very low holiday entitlement. Employees are very dedicated to their work and retirees want to ensure they remain committed to their grandchildren.

Perhaps this accommodates for the reasoning behind the next two statistics. Interestingly, and perhaps in contrast to much of the rest of the world, four out of ten passengers are under the age of 40. This means there is an emerging younger cruise market in the Far East and cruise lines will want to ensure they provide the amenities that are best suited to their needs.

With shorter destinations being the current trend across the Asian continent, many cruisers are opting not to travel to far afield. Nine out of ten passengers opt to stay within the Asian continent – but the remaining percentage choosing to travel the Mediterranean, Baltic, UK and Ireland. 59.9% of Asian travellers who travel outside the continent travel to European destinations.

Of course, this growth in the Asian market will undoubtedly make the Far East a more appealing destination for the western cruise market. With many of the leading providers deploying ships from Asia, including Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the western market will be able to enjoy Asia on the very best cruise ships around. Many world cruises also make a habit of stopping in a variety of Asian ports; with Jeju Island, Singapore, Hong Kong and many Japanese and Chinese ports all proving very popular. 

At GoCruise Franchise, we strive to deliver the very latest statistics that paint a full picture of cruise trends, habits and markets around the world. So if you love cruising and want a flexible career in an industry that you love and enjoy, why not enquire about becoming a GoCruise specialist?

If you have any questions, our dedicated team at GoCruise Franchise are ready to answer any enquiries you may have. Contact us via the Freephone number above or complete an online enquiry form. 

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