Whilst the US remains the world’s leading source market for cruise passengers, Asia is emerging as a major market for the cruise industry. All eyes will be on Asia in the coming years as the increase of passengers across the region is enormous; with 3.1 million guests taking cruises from Asia in 2016, a 55% increase on 2015.
Mainland China is the main driver of growth in Asia, accounting for 2.1 million passengers, a market which grew by 99% last year. However, growth was also to be found within the other major source markets in Asia during this period, including Taiwan (236,800 passengers), Japan (215,400) Singapore (196,900) and India (120,000), according to CLIA.
The increase in passenger numbers across Asia naturally had a positive impact on the size of the fleet deployed there. There were 66 ships deployed in Asian waters this year, representing an increase in capacity of 31% from the previous year.
Assessing whether this growth in Asia will continue, Ted Blamey, Principal, CHART Management Consultants Psy Ltd has the following viewpoint: “Last year the Asian source markets as a whole grew hugely. But 96% of total growth was due to mainland China (up 1.05 million passengers)...But real concerns have arisen this year that may dampen the enthusiasm we all have for China. The restriction on travel to Korea has removed the most popular destination for Chinese cruise tourists. Itineraries have been compromised, particularly in the short cruise durations chosen by 96% of Chinese. Cruises from China are also restricted to Taiwan and cabotage prevents calls at other China ports. Japan is the only option left.”