India sails into top spot as cruise feeder market for Singapore

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

In 2017, India led visitor arrivals as Singapore’s number-one source market for cruises with 127,000 cruise passengers – a 25 per cent increase compared to 2016.

This contributed to a total Indian inbound traffic of nearly 1.3 million for the year, breaking previous records to become Singapore’s third-highest ranking source market for visitor arrivals, according to figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

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

For Dream Cruises, the volume of Indian passengers on its cruise ships has seen “a steady growth with a healthy year-on-year increase throughout the years,” said Michael Goh, senior vice president – international sales, Genting Cruise Lines.

“India as a source market remains an important revenue contributor for Genting Cruise Lines, and we are optimistic of this steady growth with more Indian tourists opting for a cruise vacation from Singapore.”

Dream Cruises is currently deploying the Genting Dream to its homeport in Singapore, doubling the passenger capacity to 3,400, compared to previous Dream Cruises ships that homeported in Singapore.

Meanwhile, growth in the India market has doubled from 2016 to 2017 for Royal Caribbean, “driven by the increase in the summer sailings in Singapore that coincide with India’s peak travel season”, said Sean Treacy, managing director, Asia-Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Treacy shared that cruises are especially appealing to Indian families, who “can group together to make cruises a friends-and-family gathering (while enjoying) the city as well”.

Karan Anand – head, relationships, Cox & Kings, noted that fly-cruise holidays are popular among Indian outbound travellers, with Singapore offering an attractive choice.

“The beauty of taking a cruise vacation from Singapore is because it’s a homeport for many cruise liners and travellers have a wide selection of cruise options. This makes it a highly desirable destination for Indian cruise travellers,” Anand said.

GB Srithar, STB’s regional director, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, said that cruise journeys are “gaining in popularity among (India’s) young adults or working millennials” due to being a “hassle-free, all-inclusive holiday choice”.

He said: “Singapore is regarded as a convenient cruise hub for Indians to not only visit the Lion City’s many attractions, but also the neighbouring South-east Asian countries.”

As cruise holidays are still a “nascent travel option” in India, STB sees room for promoting them as a compelling travel option for Indian travellers, said Srithar.

To promote Singapore’s cruise offerings, STB works with cruise lines and travel agents in India on joint marketing campaigns, training workshops and webinars, as well as to curate pre- and post-cruise experiences.

The board also supports industry players including cruise lines, travel agents and charterers under its Cruise Development Fund.

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