New cruise alliance to be based in Bangkok


Seventeen tour operators have formed a new alliance called the Asia Cruise Services Network, aimed at enhancing operations amid an expanding cruise industry.

Company representatives met in Bangkok this week for the formal establishment of the alliance.

Krai Panyarachun, director for inbound tourism at Thailand’s SEA Tours, was named as chairman, while executives from the other companies will serve as board members with various responsibilities.

ACSN headquarters will be in Bangkok.

“We’re planning our business strategies and agenda for next year, as well as designing a website to introduce ourselves to markets worldwide,” said Krai.

However, each of the operators will remain in their respective business areas, but they will create a synergy whereby each will complement others’ cruise operations.

Besides providing separate leisure travel for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition industry, they will also be able to arrange shore excursions and land arrangements all one go.

Cruise operators in the United Sates and Europe have established a similar network, but it has few Asian members.

ACSN can operators initially take tourists to 21 ports across Asia while seeking new destinations.

“This is a big move, one that’s aimed at dealing with regional growth in the cruise industry. Local operators must improve their services, particularly ground handling,” said Krai, adding that joining forces would also help operators survive the global economic turndown.

The other founding members are JTB of Japan, Aju Incentive Tours of South Korea, PC Tours of Hong Kong, Golden Foundation Tours of Taiwan, Sharp Travel of the Philippines, Saigon Tourist of Vietnam, Bali Triloka Candra of Indonesia, Sunshine Borneo Tours from Brunei, Asian Overland Services of Malaysia, First Travel of Cambodia, Anglo-French Travel of Singapore, Myanmar Voyages of Burma, Micato India, Gemini Tours of Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean Charter Maldives and Travel Walji’s of Pakistan.

North Korean and Bangladeshi operators are being approached to join, too.

Krai said the group would soon sign a memorandum of understanding and introduce itself to international markets at the Seatrade expo in Miami, Florida next March.

It will have its own booth at Seatrade Shanghai next June.