Singapore stands to reap benefits with Asia poised to become the world's second-largest cruising region within the next five years, said the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) yesterday.
Mr S. Iswaran noted that by 2020, 3.8 million passengers annually are expected to cruise in Asia, reflecting annual growth of 14.3 per cent since 2012.
"There is growing interest in exploring Asia - and South-east Asia stands to benefit from that. Our diverse mix of exotic beaches, ancient civilisations and futuristic cities makes South-east Asia one of the best regions to combine cruise holidays with land stays," he said.
Mr Iswaran was speaking at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre to mark the maiden visit here of the Genting Dream, the first vessel built for Genting Hong Kong's luxury Dream Cruises line.
The 3,400-passenger liner cost $1.4 billion to build and has a crew of around 2,000. Genting Dream, which is targeted at Asia's middle and affluent class, boasts a range of features, including 35 restaurants and bars as well as two state-of-the-art submersibles. The submersibles are designed to carry one pilot and four passengers for underwater exploration.
Party lovers can revel at the Zouk Beach Club, which features an indoor dance club, outdoor party deck, a sports bar and a four-lane bowling alley.
The 18-deck ship will next head to Vietnam and then to its dual homeports of Hong Kong and Guangzhou to prepare for its official maiden service on Nov 13, said Dream Cruises.
Mr Iswaran noted that Genting Hong Kong's other cruise line - Star Cruises - has been instrumental in shaping Singapore's cruise landscape. Star Cruises was the first to homeport here year-round in 1994, and continues to do so with its SuperStar Gemini vessel. In 2011, Star Cruises along with the Changi Airport Group and Sats introduced the first fly-cruise service in Asia.
Mr Iswaran said: "Genting is undoubtedly a key partner in the growth and development of Singapore's cruise industry."
Singapore is a suitable homeport for Dream Cruises, which can tap the country's "strong tourism offerings to capture a profitable consumer segment that is consistently on the lookout for fresh and innovative experiences", he added.