‘Unlocking new era of cruise travel’

In order to harness the potential in Indian market, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised a Cruise Conclave that saw thought leaders and decision-makers from across the travel and lifestyle industries to discuss ways to understand the changing travellers of today, and how businesses can evolve to meet their demands in the new consumer marketplace.

Hazel Jain

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised a Cruise Conclave in Mumbai – a thought-leadership platform where it brought together some of the leading voices and minds from across the tourism and lifestyle industries. They discussed how the nature of today’s Indian consumer is changing and how to engage the travellers of tomorrow on the multifaceted nature of cruising.

Singapore considers India as an important source market in the cruise space. In 2019, Singapore welcomed 1.6 lakh Indian cruise vacationers, making India its number one overseas cruise source market. In 2022, cruise travel restarted with two ships home-ported year-round – the Genting Dream by Resorts World Cruises, and the Spectrum of the Seas by Royal Caribbean International. Speaking at the Conclave, themed ‘Reimagine The Future – Unlocking the New Era of Travel’, GB Srithar, Regional Director for India, Middle East, South Asia & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said that of the 6.86 lakh Indian visitors, 49,000 entered Singapore via sea – an encouraging sign that Indian cruise holidaymakers are coming back to Singapore for its cruise options. The array of offerings for cruisers also include the likes of award-winning cruise line TUI, homeported in Singapore on a seasonal basis.

Sharing some points on why Singapore has grown to be a popular choice for cruising among Indians, Srithar added, “Singapore’s cruise tourism industry has undergone a massive transformation in recent years, with the country investing in infrastructure and initiatives to attract more cruise passengers and cruise lines. Today, the city-state stands to benefit from the increase in tourists and spending, due to its strategic location, state of the art infrastructure, and air connectivity to the Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world. We have focused on increasing infrastructure, enhancing amenities and supporting sustainability, all of which are enticing more cruise lines to our shores. Singapore has established itself as a major player in the domestic and global cruise industry.” He said that one key selling point of cruising in Southeast Asia is the port calls across the region. “Port calls are essential to the appeal of cruises and its resumption is an important milestone,” he added.

Highlighting some of the new initiatives for the trade, Renjie Wong, Area Director, India, South Asia & Middle East, STB, said, “We work in close partnership with the travel trade and have created a Cruise Development Fund for them. This grant scheme supports the investments that travel agents are doing to promote cruise products from Singapore to their clients, and is really a way for us to say that we are in this together to further penetrate the Indian cruise market.”

At the recently concluded ITB Berlin, the STB also launched its brand-new SingapoRewards scheme, which offers complimentary, hidden-gem experiences to all international visitors. This invitation to experience Singapore’s reimagined destination offerings complements the dynamic lifestyle experiences that Indian cruise travellers – including millennial and Gen Z travellers – can leverage in Singapore. “This conclave builds on our strategy in the market, with a key focus on engaging the travel trade, re-imagining what it means to be tourism destination today, and engaging the Early Career segment in India,” Wong added.

Cruise lines discuss opportunities

Also present at the conclave was Diksha Batra, Assistant Vice President, India Sales, Resorts World Cruises, who addressed the audience. “Post pandemic we have seen a panoramic shift in the entire travel network, so for us it was an excellent platform to share ideas to elevate the FlyCruise business from India, and venture into new opportunities that we can tap. This could be in the form of weddings, social events, or themed cruises,” she said.

Sneha Choksi, Senior Business Development Associate, Tirun Travel Marketing, said, “Cruising has taken off rapidly since the re-opening of borders and this season is also looking positive. We are putting up focused strategies for Royal Caribbean to better market it to the audience. Cruising is no more only about product presentations.

 

 

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