Asean to focus on cruise tourism, with 4.5 million passengers expected by 2035

Asean tourism ministers will focus on developing cruise tourism, according to Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.
Asean tourism ministers will focus on developing cruise tourism, according to Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Asean is preparing the region for a projected 10-fold increase in cruise passengers by 2035 through infrastructure development, improved on-shore activities, and training of staff.

These initiatives are part of the joint declaration on cruise tourism that Asean tourism ministers will be developing, said Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.

Speaking at the Asean Tourism Ministers press briefing held at Pan Pacific Singapore on Friday (Jan 20), Mr Iswaran said: "The industry assessment is that South-east Asia has significant potential to grow and become a substantial region for the cruise industry."

In 2016, about 450,000 passengers are estimated to have sailed through the region, said Mr Iswaran.

Citing figures from a report on cruise development in South-east Asia, he added that in 2014, the cruise industry contributed US$1.6 billion in direct expenditure, and created about 34,000 jobs.

Singapore, as the Asean lead coordinator for cruise development, has undertaken a few initiatives, including a cruise dialogue that was held on Thursday, Mr Iswaran said. Government officials, industry stakeholders and potential investors attended the dialogue.

Elaborating on initiatives by Asean member nations, he said that Indonesia is prioritising infrastructure development in five ports, while the Philippines has implemented a national cruise development strategy.

The press briefing was held as part of the five-day annual Asean Tourism Forum, which ended on Friday.