High-speed rail opens doors to rail-cruise opportunities in Hong Kong

Guests sailing with Dream Cruises on the company's first rail-cruise programme

Rail-cruise travel has gotten off the ground in Hong Kong as the city gets on board China’s high-speed rail network connecting to 44 cities in the mainland, according to Dream Cruises.

Dream Cruises collaborated with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to roll out its first rail-cruise campaign, launching a rail fare rebate programme in August this year.

Guests sailing with Dream Cruises on the company’s first rail-cruise programme

The partners offered a rebate of up to RMB400 (US$58) per cabin to the first 1,000 rail-cruise guests embarking World Dream in Hong Kong last month. According to Dream Cruises, the rebate quota was full within two weeks of the programme’s launch.

Thatcher Brown, president of Dream Cruises, said: “We are very excited about the new rail-cruise opportunities that the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong section) brings to the city, especially in the advancement in connectivity between inland cities of China which drives the development of cruise industry in Hong Kong.

Brown shared that most of the rail-cruise guests were from cities in mainland China now connected to Hong Kong via high-speed rail without interchange, including Changsha, Guiyang, Wuhan, Nanning, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

He said: “We observed a 10 per cent surge in traffic since the new infrastructure opened in September. So far, we’ve got three rail-cruise groups ranging from 300 to 400 pax, which are good sizes for us.

“This concept provides a whole dimension of growth together with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. While the fly-cruise concept is so successful in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong is now also benefitting from rail-cruise. The connection to 44 mainland Chinese cities by rail (is boding) a huge multiplier effect for cruises.”

The cruise company hopes to to penetrate inner cities like Chengdu and “encourage them to come to down to Southern China and experience the Silk Road at sea”, Brown said.

To further facilitate rail-cruise journeys between mainland China and Hong Kong, Dream Cruises will launch Hong Kong’s first in-town check-in counter for cruising guests in West Kowloon station, scheduled to be in operation in the first quarter of 2019.

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