Thursday, January 12, 2012

ASEAN to cooperate in advancing cruise tourism

ASEAN's Tourism Ministers have agreed on closer collaboration to advance cruise tourism in the region, at their recent meeting in Manado, Indonesia.

To this end, ASEAN will look at a series of workshops, co-organised with the industry, to share best practices and strengthen collaboration in port infrastructure development, development of regional itineraries and joint marketing.

Details were released by Singapore's Trade and Industry Ministry.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, who attended the meeting said: "This is a positive development for ASEAN tourism as we work towards a strong regional cruise tourism industry.

"Singapore will work closely with the member states and the industry to organise these workshops in the coming months. Collectively, we can bring out the region's strong diversity and promote greater tourism flows within ASEAN."

The meetings noted that a key enabler in advancing cruise tourism in ASEAN is to develop adequate port infrastructure to accommodate more cruise ships.

ASEAN countries can also work together to develop regional cruise itineraries and share experience in enhancing shore-side attractions and amenities at the various destinations.

The Ministry added that the opening of Singapore's International Cruise Terminal (ICT) this year will support ASEAN's goal to be an exciting cruise region.

The terminal will double berth capacity and allow Singapore to cater to the world's largest ships.

Speaking in support of ASEAN's direction, Mr Michael Bayley, executive vice president of International of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said: "The ASEAN region enjoys many innate favourable factors for cruise development such as the huge population base and growing affluence that will drive demand for travel.

"Together with the more active developments in the cruise infrastructure here recently, ASEAN's cruise industry is now poised to grow beyond its infancy stage and in the long run, to make the region the next exotic cruise paradise of the East."

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