Singapore’s cruise industry set to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024: STB
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Friday (Jul 1) said that the country's cruise industry is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024.
The outlook comes as Southeast Asia welcomed its first port call in more than two years, with the arrival of Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas at Malaysia's Port Klang on Friday morning.
This will be followed by Resorts World Cruises' Genting Dream, which will call at Indonesia's Batam and Bintan on Saturday.
The two cruise ships are homeported in Singapore.
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the first Southeast Asian countries to resume port calls since cruising was halted in March 2020, said STB in a media statement on Friday.
"Coupled with positive discussions to resume similar calls in more ports and the alignment of health protocols across the region, STB expects the cruise industry in Singapore to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024," it added.
STB chief executive, Keith Tan said the resumption of port calls is an important milestone for Singapore and the region.
"Cruising is a key tourism driver, and as ASEAN’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to strengthen the region’s attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market.”
CRUISE INDUSTRY RECOVERY
STB said Singapore's cruise industry enjoyed "robust growth" prior to the pandemic, with more than 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands calling at the country's ports in 2019.
Singapore restarted cruising in November 2020 without any port calls. Since then, more than half a million passengers have sailed on nearly 370 "cruise to nowhere" sailings.
Amid the resumption, STB said cruising saw a "new wave of interest", especially among first-time passengers who did not consider cruising as a leisure option prior to COVID-19.
"As more ships offer varied itineraries for cruising out of Southeast Asia, these new cruisers are expected to support a strong rebound for the industry."
STB added that Singapore is currently rebuilding its pipeline of cruise ship deployments. The country is also working with cruise lines to expand their customer base - from regional markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia, to mid and long-haul markets such as India, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The fly-cruise segment, where international passengers fly to Singapore to board a cruise, is also expected to rebound strongly.
Prior to COVID-19, 70 per cent of Singapore’s cruise passengers were international visitors travelling to Singapore to take a cruise to explore Southeast Asia, said STB.
To prepare for the return of fly-cruise travellers, STB said it will continue to offer the Cruise Development Fund to encourage cruise lines to homeport in Singapore. Cruise agents can also tap on this grant to develop and market cruise packages.