CruiseSingapore Tourism Board intends to rally regional support to restore SEA itineraries and drive cruise confidence through focus on hygiene and sanitation

Regional collaboration to drive cruise tourism recovery to Singapore

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Better days ahead: Singapore Tourism Board is exploring ways to ramp up training and accreditation for travel agents on topics like enhanced health and safety measures in cruise.
Better days ahead: Singapore Tourism Board is exploring ways to ramp up training and accreditation for travel agents on topics like enhanced health and safety measures in cruise. Photo Credit: Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Regional collaboration will be key in driving cruise recovery when travel returns. To this end, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) intends to rally the support of regional governments to restore popular Southeast Asian itineraries in the recovery phase.

Tourism jobs are being protected with a 75% wage support under the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme. More than $60 billion has been set aside to support Singaporeans and businesses, including local tourism companies.

“COVID-19 has hit the global cruise industry hard, perhaps more so than any other sector in the travel industry. But Singapore believes in the long-term growth potential of cruising, and that we are well-positioned to help our partners recover and tap on that growth,” said Annie Chang, director, cruise of STB.

“Over the years, Southeast Asia has witnessed positive results with a growing presence of international cruise lines in the region. We believe this positive trend will continue for the cruise industry in the region as we bounce back from COVID-19,” said Ms Chang.

To pave the way for a safe return to cruise, STB will be actively working with global cruise body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), cruise lines and trade partners to regain confidence in cruising.

A key focus will be to raise the awareness of enhanced hygiene, sanitation and safe distancing measures on cruise ships and terminals.

It will also be ensuring that homeported cruise brands  have enhanced measures when sailings resume.

In this current downtime, STB is also exploring ways to ramp up training and accreditation for travel agents, who conduct 80% of the sale of cruise packages in the region.

STB will work with CLIA to develop relevant training for travel agents in key markets such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, to prepare agents for the resumption of sailings. Topics will focus on strengthening consumer confidence through the enhanced health and safety standards and measures implemented by cruise lines and ports, such as temperature screening.

Cleanliness and sanitation certification for tourism businesses is being rolled out as part of the SG Clean campaign run by the National Environment Agency and other government agencies. In March, the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore obtained the SG Clean certification.

Established in April, the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force (TRAC), comprising tourism leaders in private and public sectors, will help to identify opportunities in the COVID-19 crisis as well as co-create recovery plans to instil confidence in Singapore’s tourism sector, including helping homeported cruises.

Meanwhile, STB is continuing to extend support to cruise lines and partners to stay the course for recovery.

STB has enhanced its support to cruise partners with committed deployments in Singapore through its Cruise Development Fund. The fund is an incentive scheme that cruise players such as cruise lines on their homeported ships in Singapore and in-market travel agents on cruise marketing efforts in Singapore and overseas.

“We recognise that this is a challenging time for cruise lines and our stakeholders. We will continue to stand by them and support them,” said Ms Chang.

STB is also providing support for cruise vessels that require marine services such as bunkering, resupply and repairs in the Port of Singapore. Terminal operators are provided relief measures to cope with port closures.

Tourism jobs are being protected with a 75% wage support under the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme. More than $60 billion has been set aside to support Singaporeans and businesses, including local tourism companies.

“Singapore believes in the long-term growth potential of cruising and remains well-positioned to help partners recover and tap on that growth,” noted Ms Chang.

Cruise tourism in Singapore has been booming in the last five years. From 2015 to 2019, cruise throughput grew at a compound annual growth rate of 15.6%.

In 2019, foreign cruise throughput grew 3.5% despite supply constraints, with strong in-market demand from mid and long haul markets.

Singapore taps on a diverse portfolio of cruise source markets, which puts it in a strong position to adapt to how different countries emerge and recover from the COVID-19 situation.

Strong cruise markets in the region include Malaysia, Indonesia and smaller but fast-growing markets like Vietnam.

Its key mid-haul markets are India, Australia and China, while long-haul ones are Germany and the UK.

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