Aiming for double-digit growth in Indian fly cruise arrivals, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) recently intensified training efforts targeted at the Indian travel trade.
Continuing its collaboration with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), STB last week rolled out a training programme covering New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmadabad.
“We are hoping for a double-digit growth in cruise arrivals from India this year. Our focus is to attract higher quality visitors from India. We want to penetrate tier-two cities in the country for cruise holidays and will reach out to these markets through our roadshows scheduled to take place next year,” Chee Pey, assistant chief executive (international group) at STB, said.
Training is an important focus area as the destination aims to grow awareness in India and position Singapore as a cruising hub in the minds of the Indian travellers, he explained.
Through schemes such as the enhanced Cruise Development Fund (CDF), STB supported travel agents and event organisers in six successful charters in the past year, which brought in close to 10,000 cruise passengers to Singapore.
Singapore recorded 1.1 million Indian tourist arrivals in 2016, out of which 100,000 opted for cruise holidays, making India its top source market for cruising.
Agents in India also recognise the growth potential.
“Singapore is hugely popular in the Indian leisure and incentive market. Though the number of Indians taking cruise holidays in the destination is growing each year, it is still a small part of its total tourist arrivals. (But) factors like good airlift with Singapore connected to India with more than 240 flights a week offer a great opportunity to further popularise cruise holidays in India,” said Praveen Chugh, president, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI).
“Cruising is fast becoming a key activity for the Indian travellers visiting the Lion City,” A. Basheer Ahmed, managing director, Chennai Metro Travels, echoed, adding that honeymooners and families are segments likely to take to cruise holidays.
STB’s intensified efforts in India come at a time when cruise options from Singapore are booming – Genting Dream will be homeported in the city for a year-long deployment beginning December 3; Royal Caribbean International will have a total of 76 Singapore sailings on Mariner of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas for its 2017/18 season; and more.
“Genting Dream is going…to be game changer as it is going to be much larger ship. It is going to offer much more onboard experiences and introduce two types of itineraries, five-day and two-day. So, now with Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises and Genting Dream, there are lot of option available. We have to also see how to promote pre and post cruise holidays in Singapore,” said Pey.