A new body, comprising leading cruise players in Asia, aims to develop the region into an Asian cruise playground.
The Asia Cruise Terminal Operators Network (ACTON), which sees itself as the equivalent of what the International Air Transport Association is to the airline industry, was inaugurated in Suzhou, China by its founding members of Malaysia, Philippines and China.
A representative of the many cruise terminal operators in Asia, ACTON is set build a new niche tourism market for the region. It was formed based on their need to work together for mutual benefits. It also acts as a central coordinator to provide members with the freedom and flexibility of communicating with one another.
Based in Singapore with Globalports managing its Secretariat, the association sees it as the equivalent of what the International Air Transport Association is to the airline industry.
Wang Chi, Deputy General Manager of Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal and ACTON’s pioneering Chairman, said the cruise tourism industry was still in its infancy in the region.
“Asia stands on the threshold of a breakthrough in achieving much higher growth in cruise tourism in terms of vessel calls, passengers as well as related tourism receipts over the next 10 years.”
He hopes that the grouping would boost growth in the cruise sector through coordinated cooperation among the members.
Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General of Malaysia’s Tourism Promotion Board, said Malaysia is keen to facilitate dialogue through this network, whilst tapping into the cruise tourism industry and market.
“We have asked Globalports to develop a win-win solution that can help enable greater integration and connectivity both among the terminal operations and throughout the network of ports.”
Mirza added that although there are existing networks, such as the Asia Cruise Association, Tourism Boards via ASEAN Tourism Working Group and Ground Handlers Network via Asia Ground Services Network, there was a missing link in a terminal operators network. ACTON has filled this void.
“With the initiation of ACTON as a base framework for future collaborative initiatives, we are exploring the intent to bring together cruise terminals in Malaysia.”
ACTON currently has as its affiliates the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Medcruises, and Asia Cruise Association, all veterans in the field of cruise tourism.