The joint ASEAN Declaration on Cruise Tourism will improve the clarity of cruise policies and regulations, efficiency in administration processes, and refine business practices as Singapore continues to welcome more groups for meetings and incentives.
The Declaration, led by Singapore, the ASEAN lead coordinator for cruise development, was officially endorsed at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on January 25, 2018.
Plans for the Declaration were first laid at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 in Singapore. Its official adoption a year later marks another milestone in ASEAN’s ongoing efforts to transform Southeast Asia into a vibrant cruising destination.
The ASEAN states’ collective efforts to develop the ASEAN Declaration for Cruise Tourism is built on previous work such as the inaugural ATF Cruise Dialogue last year and the launch of the Cruise Southeast Asia brand in 2016.
“This marks the first major economic deliverable undertaken by Singapore since we assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship for 2018. This will deepen regional connectivity and position ASEAN as a region for seamless economic activity and growing opportunities. We look forward to bringing meaningful benefits to ASEAN businesses and citizens,” said Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry.
By achieving several endeavours through the Declaration, including fairer business practices, greater clarity and transparency in cruise-related policies, and capacity building, meeting and incentive groups can look forward to more varied itineraries in the region, according to Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive (Policy & Planning Group), Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
“Cruising serves as a complementary experience for land incentive trips, opening up more travel options for incentive and corporate travel planners. The Declaration commits to improving efficiency in administration processes and procedures, which could lead to smoother embarkation/disembarkation processes at various ports of call,”said Yap.
A rise in cruise tourism is expected to spur further advancements in port and destination infrastructure, catalyse ship deployments and spin off benefits for local tourism industries and stakeholders across the region. With these developments, the region has the potential to generate growth of up to 4.5 million passengers cruising in Southeast Asia by 20351, a ten-fold increase from 2016.
Singapore’s cruise industry has also enjoyed robust growth in recent years: 411 cruise ships called at its ports in 2016, and the country logged a passenger throughput of about 1.2 million in the same year. A recent study by the STB found that the cruise industry contributed SGD706 million (USD531.4 million) in direct spend to Singapore's economy in 2016, an increase of about 36 percent from 2012.
“The future of cruise tourism for both Singapore and the Southeast Asian region is bright, with strong potential for growth. Cruise development needs to be a concerted regional effort and Singapore will continue to actively engage with our ASEAN counterparts to encourage regional cruise development, and jointly promote Southeast Asia as a cruising playground for the world,” said Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive, STB.
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