SINGAPORE – The second annual Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific opened today at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore with a panel of top cruise line executives discussing the current state and potential for the Asia-Pacific region as the next great cruising market.
“We are pleased to welcome conference participants and exhibitors to the beautiful Marina Bay Cruise Center in Singapore,” said Daniel Read, director of UBM’s Cruise Shipping Portfolio. “With all the developments taking place in the region, these are indeed exciting times in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Cruise Industry News, the official media partner of Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific, provided this coverage of the opening day of the event:
The State of the Industry panel touched on a variety of topics, ranging from Asia-Pacific source potential to newbuilds and various infrastructure challenges in the region.
Christine Duffy, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association, described Asia as a gateway to tomorrow’s cruise marketplace, pointing to the $350 million Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore. She talked about the potential growth prospects in the Asia-Pacific region, saying that a 1 percent penetration rate would lead to 300 million cruise passengers, compared to a current 3 percent penetration rate in the United States.
Gianni Onorato, president of Costa Crociere, noted that port infrastructure in Asia is still lacking, along with consumer education.
“The major issue here is to explain what cruising is to the customers,” said Onorato. “The second challenge is how to offer destinations and itineraries that can be reached in a competitive way cost-wise. We have a number of major homeports in the region, but they need other ports of call that are able to accommodate ships. Today, this is not the case and one of the major obstacles to growth. The main homeports should assist the other ports.”
Onorato noted that since 2006, Costa has invested tens of millions of euros in China in distribution and advertising. The Italian brand has two ships in the region, having upped passenger capacity and tonnage steadily since entering the market.
“It is the customers driving the demand. We can help, but it is the customer,” he added.
Furthermore, Onorato said Asia was the most expensive places in the world for fuel costs, due to the long distances between ports.
“As this market becomes profitable, there will be new ships, either coming from Europe or North America, or newbuilds,” said Onorato.
Kevin Leong, general manager of the Asia Cruise Association, said that the industry in Asia was at a turning point.
“Cruise lines want to bring in ships, but there are not enough ports of call,” he explained. “It is ongoing work and will take some time to make it happen. There is a sense of urgency to create more facilities.”
Those facilities, Leong said, also take time to build, thus pushing deployment changes off until cruise berths are built.
And placing ships in Asia is based on a matrix of factors, said Jan Swartz, executive vice president of sales, marketing and consumer services for Princess Cruises.
She explained that ships are deployed to maximize profit contribution to the company.
“That is a function of how we estimate consumer demand from over the 70 international markets we sell in,” Swartz said. “The facts we think about in deciding where we place ships and what itineraries are the most appealing are: first, how we maximize revenue, both net ticket price and on-board revenue, including shore excursions. Fuel is on our minds and a dominate cost, but also, port costs. We do a number of scenarios to evaluate where we should place our 18 ships.”
Carnival Corporation recently opened an office for Princess, Cunard Line and Seabourn in Japan, and just last week announced another office opening in Singapore to support Asia-based ships. Princess will deploy the Sun Princess out of Japan in 2013 for a short season, aiming to carry some 20,000 Japanese passengers.
“We know that Asian countries, based on other industries, when they put their mind to it, they make it happen fast,” said Swartz, commenting on port infrastructure.
Speakers and conference participants include Christine Duffy, president and chief executive officer of Cruise Lines International Association; Ann Sherry, chief executive officer of Carnival Australia;Gianni Onorato, president of Costa Crociere; Roberto Giorgi, president of V.Ships, and Dr. Zinan Liu managing director China and Asia for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific continues Tuesday, Sept. 18, with conference sessions and trade show.
Exhibiting companies include Tourism Malaysia, Port Klang Cruise Center, Brunei Tourism, Sembawang Shipyard, Singapore Tourism Board, SUNY Maritime College, Tourism Western Australia, TEAM Ports & Maritime and Maritime Communications Partners, among many more. To view the complete exhibitor list click here: http://www.cruiseshippingevents.com/asia-exhibitor-list
Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific is supported by the Asia Cruise Association, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and International Cruise Council Australasia, and has the exclusive support of Cruise Lines International Association, the global advocate for the industry.