ASEAN pledges to further develop cruise tourism

Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas at Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore

ASEAN tourism leaders have adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Cruise Tourism, endorsing a common set of priorities in the development of cruise tourism in the region.

As part of the declaration, member states agreed to work towards greater capacity building and exchange of industry best practices – such as through partnering the cruise industry to raise travel trade capabilities and understanding port infrastructure and technical requirements to raise competencies.

Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas at Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore

They also agreed to accelerate cruise tourism development, with a focus on effective destination management that considers issues of environmental and social sustainability.

Other goals outlined include applying fair business practices, such as transparency in business transactions; and ensuring the consistent application of national laws, regulations, policies and guidelines to minimise confusion for cruise ships calling at different ports within each country.

The declaration was endorsed at the recently concluded ATF in Chiang Mai, led by Singapore, the trade bloc’s lead coordinator for cruise development.

“This builds on our previous work such as the inaugural ATF Cruise Dialogue last year and the launch of the Cruise Southeast Asia brand in 2016. It also marks the first major economic deliverable undertaken by Singapore since we assumed the ASEAN chairmanship for 2018. This will deepen regional connectivity and position ASEAN as a region for seamless economic activity and growing opportunities,” said Sim Ann, Singapore’s senior minister of state, Ministry of Trade and Industry.

A rise in cruise tourism is expected to spur further advancements in port and destination infrastructure, catalyse ship deployments and spin off benefits for local tourism industries and stakeholders across the region, according to a statement from the Singapore Tourism Board.

With these developments, the region has the potential to welcome up to 4.5 million passengers by 2035, a 10-fold increase from 2016, STB shared, citing projections by US-based Bermello Ajamil and Partners.

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