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Taiwan Joins Hands with Hong Kong to Develop Growing Asia Cruise Market

Mar 13, 2014 | By CENS

In response to the fast-growing demand for cruise travel in Asia, Taiwan has joined hands with Hong Kong for the joint development of this lucrative market.

The Tourism Bureau under Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications has forged a deal with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), a government-supported tourism promoter, to join forces in promoting cruise travel and attracting more cruise lines to set up local operations. The three-year pact will become effective in April.

Tourism Bureau officials noted that over the past few years, the Asian market for cruise travel has grown at an average annual rate of 8%, topping the world's other regional cruise markets. The officials added that a total of 98 cruise ships brought over 146,000 foreign travelers to Taiwan last year, and that the figures are expected to exceed 145 and 200,000 this year.

HKTB indicated that the bilateral agreement will target travelers not just in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where the potential consumer base reaches 21 million and 8 million, respectively, but also from Zhuhai and China's southeastern province of Guangdong, where the population exceeds 50 million. Since Taiwan and Hong Kong both occupy pivotal positions in Asia, cruise ships sailing from the two can reach northward to Okinawa and Jeju Island and southward to Sanya, Ha Long Bay, and other globally famous area destinations within five days, making it easy for cruise lines to offer consumers attractive vacation packages.

In fact, the Tourism Bureau sees cruise travel as an essential driver of growth if Taiwan is to reach its target of 9 million visitor arrivals this year, given that air travel may show only a little growth as airlines offer limited numbers of flights. Taiwanese officials noted that a large cruise ship can carry 2,000-3,000 tourists at least, contributing considerably to the local tourism and hospitality sector.

To further promote cruise travel to Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau has also proposed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approve visas on arrival for travelers from Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

At the same time, the Taiwanese government has been actively improving infrastructure and constructing cruise passenger centers and related facilities at commercial ports in Keelung, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Hualien, and other locations in the hope of boosting the island's image as a hub for cruise travel in Asia. (SC)

Cruise Travel Market Forecast

2005
2010
2015
2020
Worldwide
13.6 million
18 million
22.6 million
27 million
Asia
1.07 million
1.54 million
2.02 million
2.38 million
Source: Ocean Shipping Consultants


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