Travel agents’ leader believes 2017 will be a big year for cruise

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The President of ASEANTA Devinder Ohri, has welcomed the ringing endorsement of the Asian cruise industy that came at last week’s ASEAN Tourism Forum.

Mr Ohri leads the influential ASEAN travel agent group and the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore.

Ministers from the ten nations and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued statements urging more investment, training and destination development.

Mr Ohri told ASEAN Cruise News he was heartened by the statements, and felt it would lead to more sales and better training for agents.

“Most definitely. We’re very confident the massive investment that the Singapore Government made in our cruise infrastructure and the commitment that they have been able to solicit from global cruise enterprises to homeport their mega vessels in Singapore is very promising.

“We also have a lot of interest among the member nations in ASEAN to be featured as an ideal playground for cruising in high quality products which could rival the other cruising areas of the world, including the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean.”

On Training, Mr Ohri was also upbeat. “We have a commitment at the schools we run and the members we serve to have their members trained to sell cruise professionally.”

And Mr Orhi believes 2017 shows incredible promise for the growth of cruising.

“I think with so much commitment and investment on the part of government and the private sector and the agency community, I can’t see any reason why in the next 12 moths this isn’t going to be realised.

The ten nations of ASEAN put cruise front and centre in their final communiqué at the ASEAN Tourism Forum.

It is one of the biggest acknowledgements yet of how big the Southeast Asian cruise industry could become, with a specially commissioned 20-page report suggesting 4.5 million passengers could be carried by 2035.

The ASEAN region is bigger than the Caribbean and could become just as important, Singapore Trade and Industry minister S. Iswaran told a closing press conference.

In 2014, the Southeast Asian cruise industry contributed US$3.35 billion in economic contributions and created 34,000 jobs.

It has grown considerably since then.