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Asia is seeing “robust” double-digit growth in cruise ships, passengers and ports in the region with a record year projected for 2015, latest industry figures show.
A study by the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) reveals that the number of Chinese passengers grew 79% a year between 2012 and 2014.
There were 697,000 passengers from mainland China last year - almost as many as from all other Asian markets combined (701,000).
Lines have responded by raising capacity by 20% a year since 2013 to reach an expected level of 2.2 million this year, meaning the Asia region has progressed to become fourth in passenger capacity deployment, tied with Australasia, according to the Asia Cruise Trends study by Clia.
With this increased ship capacity, Asians are cruising more than ever before. Cruise lines hosted carried almost 1.4 million cruise passengers from Asia 2014, a 34% compound annual growth rate since 2012.
China’s Generation Y – aged 35 and under – made up most of the country’s outbound travel, according to statistics from the World Tourism Cities Federation.
The trend is echoed in the cruise industry. More than four out of 10 passengers were under 40 in four of the largest cruise markets – China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
A total of 52 cruise ships will operate in Asia this year, with 1,065 sailings scheduled.
More than nine out of 10 Asian passengers (91%) cruise within the region. Japan ranks top with 646 port calls planned in 2015, followed by Malaysia (580), South Korea (377), Singapore and Thailand (374 each).
The remaining 9% fly to cruise destinations outside the region, primarily in Europe, followed by Alaska and the Caribbean.
More short duration cruises are preferred by Asian consumers with 48% choosing four to six-day cruises in 2014, 38% taking cruises of two to three nights, and only 12% opting for seven to 13 night cruises.
New onboard offerings tailored to the Asian passengers include inclusive onboard activities aimed at multi-generational families, high-end shopping, and adapted menus to include familiar favorites and regional cuisine.
Clia global chairman, Adam Goldstein (Royal Caribbean), said: “It is exciting that, for the first time, we know the true size of Asian source markets and have been able to extend our understanding of Asia’s cruise industry growth and potential.
“2015 will be a record-breaking year in Asia with more travellers cruising the region than ever before.
“The cruise industry is responding by offering more cruises with experiences tailored to Asian travelers as well as enticing international travellers with an easy way to visit Asia’s array of fascinating destinations.”
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