How Asia is targeting the Indian cruiser


More holiday makers from India are travelling on fly-cruise packages to Southeast Asia and Australasia because of greater connectivity and easier accessibility, ASEAN Cruise News can report.

The geo-political challenges in several Western destinations have allowed Southeast Asia and Australia-New Zealand to emerge strongly as a holiday destination for Indian travellers, according to Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head-Leisure Travel, MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

“Southeast Asia has always been featured as an Indian traveller’s favourite destination given easy accessibility, neat connectivity and value-pricing. As a result, fly-cruise options allow us to expand this potential demand,“ he said.

Earlier this month, cruise operator Royal Caribbean International announced a second multimillion-dollar marketing partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG).

The collaboration is set to bring in about 45,000 tourists flying in to Singapore for a cruise on Royal Caribbean ships Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas between March and June this year, and is projected to generate over S$26 million.

In addition, India has also announced plans to become a global destination for cruising, and has taken steps on a “war footing” to promote the industry, which includes relaxation of policies and developing infrastructure. This is likely to attract more travellers to consider the fly-cruise option.

India, which has seen a positive growth in terms of its fly-cruise passengers, is identified as one of the top source markets of the initiative. Sean Treacy, managing director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia Pacific said that India experiences close to 20% per annum growth of passenger volume on the average.

“The growth of India’s fly-cruise guests can be attributed to STB’s stronger focus on Asian markets on the whole in recent years, and these three markets are among the highest in tourist volume,“ Treacy said.

Treacy commented that Singapore is an ideal port due to its great air connectivity, and Royal Caribbean has been actively exploring on untapped provinces and regions within these countries which contributed to a positive growth in passenger volume.

On the other hand, fly-cruise packages at Thomas Cook India have also shown a healthy year-on-year growth of over 20%.

Singapore is also a popular destination of Indian travellers because of its easy access being a short-haul destination, as this creates a strong potential for extended weekend getaways, Mr Kale said.

“Singapore enjoys the favoured destination status and hence this fly-cruise opportunity allows us to further our Singapore agenda.” Mr Kale commented that India is a high potential and burgeoning travel market, and cruising is seen as a “highly aspirational and another key driver for this opportunity.“

According to Mr Treacy, the partnership will be carried out via a series of marketing campaigns, research studies and channel development activities such as media and trade familiarisation trips.

To better focus on the fly-cruise market, Thomas Cook India has specially curated travel packages to meet the requirements of young professionals and luxury high net worth individuals.

Currently, Indian cruisers usually fly out of Tier 1 cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai and Tier 2 cities like Jaipur and Pune.