Five Asia cruise destinations – Hainan, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Taiwan, and Xiamen – jointly announced today the launch of Asia Cruise Cooperation (ACC), a committed and resourceful alliance with a strong commitment to maximize the growth of cruise tourism in Asia. Launched at a cocktail reception at Seatrade Cruise Global in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the members of ACC vowed to provide full support to cruise lines to develop Asian cruise products.
Riding on the success of Asia Cruise Fund founded in 2014 and the participation of Xiamen since January, the five partners decided to elevate the collaboration, which allows the alliance to go beyond funding support to cruise lines. ACC provides a one-stop platform to support cruise lines’ strategies in Asia including facilitating itinerary development, sharing industry and market insights, enhancing cruise lines’ marketing efforts with funding support and creating consumer demand for cruising.
Junlin He, Vice Director of Hainan Provincial Tourism Development Commission, said that, “With the ACC platform, Hainan will become one of the world’s largest international cruise centers by strengthening the cooperation with ACC partners to attract more international cruise visitors. Sanya’s Phoenix Island International Cruise Port will become one of the biggest homeports of cruise ships in Asia with an annual capacity of two million visitors. ”
Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), said, “The HKTB is delighted to see the elevation of the partnership among the member destinations under the ACC platform. The prospects for this burgeoning sector are unlimited, and it’s no exaggeration to say the future of cruise tourism lies in Asia. Hong Kong, as Asia’s cruise hub and with significant growth in both ship calls and throughput in the past two years, is determined to continue to play a pivotal role in the ACC in initiating joint promotions to attract more international cruise lines and yield greater mutual benefits for all members of the ACC.”
Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., Undersecretary the Philippine Department of Tourism, said, “The Philippines is truly fortunate to be part of the ACC, as Philippine cruise tourism can complement the itineraries along its neighbor-destinations of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hainan and other future ACC member-ports. Cruise calls to the Philippine islands have been growing at an average rate of 50% over the past three years, from 16 calls in 2012 to 70 calls in 2015.”
Dr. Wayne Liu, Deputy Director-General of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB), said, “The alliance of Asia Cruise Fund has provided support to cruise lines in marketing programs and product development. In less than two years, 42 sailings with a total 83 ship calls from six cruise brands have been approved. It has also effectively helped increase Taiwan’s international cruise tourism by nearly 80%. In 2015, 192 port calls were made to Taiwan and over 260,000 international cruise tourists have visited Taiwan.”
Mr. Shuguang Kong, Deputy Director of the Xiamen Tourism Bureau, believed that, “With Xiamen joining the ACC, more multilateral cooperation will be conducted, which enables Xiamen’s cruise industry to enter a new stage of development.”
International cruise lines expressed their enthusiasm to tap into the enormous Asian cruise market with ACC. Jan Swartz, President at Princess Cruises, said, “We are very proud of our close working relationship with the Asia Cruise Cooperation and we look forward to continuing to work with them to grow cruise tourism in Asia.”
Dr. Zinan Liu, President of North APAC and China of Royal Caribbean International shared that, “When planning an itinerary, cruise lines tend to choose attractive ports of call in the same region. As a result, we believe it’s essential to collaborate with our ACC partnering destinations in order to attract international cruise companies and develop new itineraries.”
Asia holds huge potential for the cruise industry, with over 3,500 port calls, 1,000 scheduled cruises and voyages with an estimated passenger capacity of over two million in 2015. ACC, which aspires to achieve synergy between regional partners and cruise lines to tap into the enormous Asian cruise market, will be working on the development of the region’s cruise tourism and encourage neighboring ports and international cruise lines to join together to explore this expanding market.