Asia’s cruise passenger source market hit a new high in 2018 with 4.24 million people taking an ocean cruise, up 4.6% year-on-year, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) data.
Asia continues to be the cruise industry’s third largest market after North America and Europe, maintaining a 14.8% share of the total global ocean passenger volume (28.5 million) for 2018.
Most of the source markets in Asia saw year-on-year gains in 2018 except Mainland China and Malaysia (150,000 passengers, down 19.9%). Passenger volume from Singapore, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam saw double-digit growth.
Among source markets in 2018, Taiwan accounted for 391,000 passengers, (up 4.7%) ahead of Singapore (373,000 passengers, up 39.9%), Hong Kong 250,000, up 8.6%), Japan (266,000, up 4.5%) and India (221,000, up 28.1%).
Mainland China retained its dominance as a source market, accounting for 55.8% of all Asian passengers, though the Chinese market has been going through a period of adjustment that saw a marginal 1.6% decline in passengers.
Last year’s more measured increase in Asia’s passenger volume came as cruise ship capacity dipped after years of rapid expansion in the region.
Demand for cruise ships worldwide, and reduced short cruise itinerary options ex-mainland China, contributed to the slowdown in growth, CLIA reported.
“In the next few years, cruising in Asia is expected to continue growing in popularity with the arrival of new ships in 2019/2020,” said CLIA managing director for Australasia & Asia, Joel Katz.