The Malaysia Cruise Industry Association (MCIA), launched last week with 30 founding travel agent members involved in the business, is ramping up its recruitment drive by offering a free three-day course to new members.
The membership drive will be MCIA’s focus over the next three months, president Rashid Khan told TTG Asia. A member is conducting the course and MCIA is also working with local universities to identify suitable instructors.
Rashid said: “MCIA’s goal is to have members that can contribute to and influence the industry and, to build a quality membership, we are looking at collaborating with professional bodies and international organisations like CLIA (Cruise Lines Industry Association) to professionalise the industry and bring skills sets to a different level.”
MCIA, he said, is taking the lead in developing Malaysia’s inbound and outbound cruise industry. “The association intends to facilitate and assist the government in formulating cruise industry-specific policies and regulations that also include smaller enterprises like river cruise operators in our fold,” Rashid said.
“Our strategic road map is almost finalised. In the meantime, we are progressing with capacity development on the demand and supply sides, developing standards to professionalise the industry and protect the consumer, and engaging regional and national authorities to liberalise policy decisions, making sure there is a framework to enable sustainable participation of cruising.”
Malaysia, ranked number five in Asia, is expecting 468 cruise line port calls in 2017, an 11 per cent growth. The number of passenger destination days is also expected to increase from 740,000 in 2016 to 816,000 this year. “Since 2013 cruise line port calls have grown by 23 per cent in absolute volume,” Rashid noted.
With more cruise lines boosting capacity in the region MCIA has in place a stakeholder engagement programme and cruise lines have a platform to understand the challenges in Malaysia and the region, he added.
In a related development, MCIA is one of three main hosts of the inaugural South Sea Cruise Conference taking place in Haikou, Hainan between December 12 and 15. About 300 international and China delegates from cruise lines, government, state-owned enterprises and travel agencies are expected to attend.