The cruise industry is one of the fastest growing segments of tourism. Although a recent development in Asia and the Pacific as compared to the traditional destinations in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, cruise tourism has been growing at double-digit rates in the region fuelled by the increasing demand from the North-East Asia markets, namely from China. In this context, South-East Asia has gained particular relevance as its ports account for around 45% of all port calls in the region.
The exponential growth of cruise tourism in Asia, and particularly in South-East Asia, presents a major opportunity, but also an undeniable challenge to ensure that the policy, planning and development of cruise tourism is done in a sustainable and responsible manner. Indeed, cruise tourism, though still an emerging segment in Asia, has an immense potential to contribute to the region’s socio-economic progress while enhancing regional integration as many itineraries include ports in different countries. Yet, as highlighted in the present report “controlling tourism demand and mitigating its impacts will be the 21st century challenge. Cruise tourism will be one of the focal points of this shift in the way we experience the planet”.