As affluent travel in Asia grows, opportunities are rife across the various sectors of tourism. One of these growth areas is the newly evolving cruise industry, writes Amrita Banta, Managing Director at Agility Research & Strategy.
Cruise tourism in Asia has been growing in double digits over the past three years and is likely to stay on this trajectory as the economic outlook for Asians continues to get better.
Agility Research & Strategy took a closer look at this burgeoning business, culminating in the first ever report in Asia that covers behaviour around cruise travel amongst the affluent and provides insight into their potential and needs in cruise travel.
The study surveyed 2,400 respondents across key Asian markets of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and India in May 2015, and brought forward some key insights.
“ Cruise travellers across Asia are not yet open to many destinations outside APAC ”
Target Markets For Luxury Cruise Consumption
According to the findings, the majority of cruise consumption is going to come from China and India over the next year. Not only do these two markets have the largest populations in Asia, but affluent travellers from these markets claim higher likelihood of going on a cruise in the next year compared to other Asian markets, especially Korea and Japan.
However, cruise companies should not de-prioritise the Korean and Japanese markets as they may be the big spenders next year. While likelihood for cruising is relatively lower for these affluent consumers, those who are planning to do so in the next year will consume longer cruise packages, of six nights or more, compared to their Chinese and Indian counterparts.
Research suggests that cruise travellers across Asia are not yet open to many destinations outside APAC.
The majority of preferred cruise destinations lie in popular cities in Southeast Asia, but destinations common across most markets are Sydney, Hong Kong, and Singapore. This indicates the importance of these ports in planning cruise itineraries targeted towards the affluent Asian.
“ The challenge in successfully reaching the Chinese market will lie in cruises designed specifically for them ”
It is also notable that the two top markets for the next 12 months, China and India, have very different needs.
Indian cruises can fit into more compact packages given Singapore’s proximity to Hong Kong, but cruises geared towards the Chinese market will require more days. While cruises from Bali to Sydney are already available, these typically run up to around nine days. The challenge in successfully reaching the Chinese market will lie in cruises designed specifically for them, taking into account the other top countries they would like to visit.
On the other hand, Japan and Korea are more open to longer cruises, which may make their preferred destinations, like Bali, Hong Kong and Singapore, achievable within a single tour package.
Top 3 Destinations by Country
China: Jeju, Bali, Sydney
India: Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai/Sydney
Singapore: Jeju, Phuket, Hong Kong
Malaysia: Hong Kong, Phuket, Sydney
Taiwan: Okinawa, Osaka, Venice/Kagoshima
Hong Kong: Okinawa, Jeju/Dubai, Singapore/Osaka
South Korea: Bali, Hong Kong, Sydney
Japan: Singapore, Dubai, Sydney/Bali
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