Press release - Los Angeles, CA, USA - March 16, 2015
Two new studies on Asia's cruise market released today by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) reveal a potential 83 million cruise passengers in Greater China and highlight how Hong Kong and regional ports are gearing up to tap into this market by upgrading cruise infrastructure and tourism offerings.
The studies – the Asia Cruise Potential and Passenger Behaviour Study and the Asia Cruise Port Development Study – are the first of their kind and were released by HKTB on the opening day of Cruise Shipping Miami, the cruise industry's leading international event.
Initiated by HKTB, the two studies were carried out by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with the aim of providing insight and useful information to help cruise companies unlock the region's cruise potential.
Huge potential in Greater China
The Asia Cruise Potential and Passenger Behaviour Study specifically examined the potential market in Greater China, which is currently the largest source of cruise travellers in Asia and the 8th largest in the world, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The study reveals a potential 83 million cruise passengers in just seven source markets within Greater China. This figure is four times the current number of cruise passengers world-wide. Hong Kong, with its connectivity to the Pearl River Delta, Central China and Taiwan by air, high speed rail and land transportation via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, is looking at a cruise potential of 54 million passengers.
The study also reveals that the make-up of these passengers is younger and more family-oriented than cruise passengers in traditional source markets such as North America and Europe, where they tend to be older, retired achievers. As many as 69 percent of respondents from the family segment with children under the age of 16 said they intended to take a cruise, while more than 51 percent of respondents between the ages of 20 and 29 said they have set their sights on a future cruise holiday.
Asia's ports gear up to tap into the huge potential
The second study, Asia's Cruise Port Development Study, focused on the development of ports in Hong Kong and neighboring areas. Its results highlight the commitment throughout the region to facilitate the growth in cruise business by improving port facilities and tourism offerings in the next 5 to 20 years.
Positioning Hong Kong as the home ship destination, the study identifies 21 ports within 6-7 cruise days which already have concrete plans to upgrade berths, cruise infrastructure and supporting infrastructure, as well as expand tourism offerings and improve destination management in areas such as the issuing of visas. These ports include: Sanya, Xiamen, Zhoushan, Qingdao and Yantai in China, Keelung, Hualien, Kaohsiung, Anping, Taichung, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu in Taiwan, Miyakojima and Takamatsu in Japan, Mokpo and Yeosu in South Korea, Hon La in Vietnam, and Manila, Boracay and Puerto Princesa in the Philippines.
According to the study, within five years, half of these ports will be able to receive cruise ships of 100,000 gross tonnage. This will give cruise companies more flexibility in deploying their fleet and planning interesting itineraries with cultural, scenic or adventure activities to cater for all market segments.
Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said, "The studies highlighted both the potential for growth in Asia cruise tourism and the region's commitment to the industry."
"Hong Kong, being Asia's Cruise Hub at the heart of Asia, is the perfect location to tap into the growing cruise potential in the region," said Mr. Lau.
"With the results of the two surveys showing the great potential and committed development, combined with the Asia Cruise Fund, Asia's cruise tourism is ready to take off."
About the Asia Cruise Fund
In April 2014, the Hong Kong Tourism Board together with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau demonstrated commitment to cruise tourism industry by launching the first-ever Asia Cruise Fund, an initiative aimed at offering better support to cruise lines and promoting regional co-operation for attracting cruise tourism.
The fund now has four members since the addition of Hainan in China and the Philippines in November 2014. More new members are expected to join in the near future.