The one-day event, sponsored by Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, MTR Corporation, Genting Cruise Lines, American Airlines and Traveltek, featured a quick-fire itinerary of presentations, panel discussions and networking breaks that offered the 249 delegates a deep dive into Greater China’s cruise industry.
Cruise stakeholders, including experts, partners, travel agents and media, gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong yesterday (December 10) for Northstar Travel Group’s inaugural CruiseWorld Hong Kong.
The one-day event, sponsored by Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, MTR Corporation, Genting Cruise Lines, American Airlines and Traveltek and supported by Hong Kong Tourism Board, featured a quick-fire itinerary of presentations, panel discussions and networking breaks that offered the 249 delegates a deep dive into Greater China’s cruise industry.
Setting a bullish tone for the conference was Travel Weekly’s editor-in-chief Arnie Weissmann who said, “It is a fascinating time to be in any business related to the cruise industry in Hong Kong or Mainland China.
“This market is destined to be the largest cruise market in the world. Everyone in this room has a historic opportunity to play a role in its development.”
With the theme ‘Cashing in on Greater China Cruise Tourism’, the hot topic of the day was the increased connectivity between Hong Kong and Mainland China, thanks to the High Speed Rail, just a 10-minute walk away, and The Greater Bay Area initiative.
Carmen Li, general manager – Intercity, MTR Corporation, shared her excitement at the rail-cruise’s one-stop-shop capabilities and collaborations on bundle products, while Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, thanked the audience of travel agents for their hard work, collectively growing the Greater Bay Area into China’s second largest source market for cruise. He forecasted a 10% growth in Hong Kong’s cruise tourism through 2020.
Kenneth Wong, general manager MICE and Cruise, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), talked about the powerful marketing possibilities marrying the new infrastructure with Hong Kong’s new attractions and mega-events.
Other speakers included Kent Zhu, president, Genting Cruise Lines, and Dr Kam Hung, associate professor, who shared her pyramid of cruise experience from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Key government and port experts from Xiamen, Okinawa, Hong Kong and Halong Bay discussed their destination’s strengths and attractions to cruise passengers. Halong International Cruise Port’s managing director, Pham Van Hiep, highlighted the upcoming Van Don International Airport which is scheduled to open by month-end.
Travel agents took to the stage in the afternoon with Simon Wo, executive director tour & cruise business, Travel Expert Group, who shared the difficulties of the increasingly last-minute bookings of cruise products in the region, while encouraging the push for MICE at sea, currently an under-utilised sector.
Crystal Campbell, managing director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Hong Kong agreed the MICE cruise segment needed to be developed, while saying the brand sees Hong Kong as an anchor port in the region.
One of the most popular talks was the update featuring Explorer Dream presented by president of Dream Cruises, Thatcher Brown. Dream Cruises is currently the only brand to homeport year-round in Hong Kong.