THE cruise industry is sailing full steam ahead in Singapore, with more locals choosing to board ships rather than planes for their vacations. Numbers from Singapore Tourism Board (STB) show that since 1990, the industry has recorded average passenger growth rate of nearly 8 per cent annually.
Last year, local cruise ports saw a record high of 390 ship calls. Almost 21 million passengers took a cruise from Singapore in 2013, up 13 per cent from the previous year. Travel agencies have also observed a significant increase in the number of customers enquiring and purchasing cruise packages.
Citystate Travel, for instance, reported a 10 to 20 per cent increase in cruise vacationers. JAC Travel has experienced a spike in queries, with 75 per cent of these queries converted to actual bookings.
Meanwhile, Chan Brothers Travel estimates that the industry will grow by 30 per cent over the next few years. Demand is coming from both regional cruises that originate from here as well as fly-cruises from ports of call beyond Singapore, an evident trend for the company when they began focusing on fly-cruises in 2009, said Jeremiah Wong, manager of marketing communications at Chan Brothers Travel. A fly-cruise involves taking a flight to another destination to take a cruise.
Full steam ahead