CruiseThe cruise terminal experience is only getting better in Southeast Asia.

Regional cruise ports development races ahead

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From left: Travel Weekly Asia's Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services' Lionel Wong; Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia's Rizki Handayani; and Ministry of Transport Malaysia's Mohamad Halim Ahmed.
From left: Travel Weekly Asia's Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services' Lionel Wong; Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia's Rizki Handayani; and Ministry of Transport Malaysia's Mohamad Halim Ahmed.

Extensive port terminal expansions from Singapore to Malaysia, to Indonesia and beyond are driving the upturn in the cruise industry confidence across Asia.

Key issues being addressed by regional port authorities and cruise operators are efforts to achieve sustainable practices, adhering to strict safety protocols and moves to offer a free visa waiver for cruise passengers arriving in Indonesia.

At CruiseWorld Asia’s cruise port panel discussion: ‘Unlocking the growth of Asia’s cruise tourism’, moderator Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, senior editor, Travel Weekly Asia, gathered insights from Mohamad Halim Ahmed, undersecretary, Ministry of Transport Malaysia; Lionel Wong, CEO, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services; and Rizki Handayani, deputy for tourism products and events, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia.

Halim said all port terminals and visiting cruise ships in Malaysia must adhere to strict hygiene standards, and were being encouraged to reduce waste across operations, reduce emissions, and “to be eco-friendly and sustainable in every aspect, whenever possible”.

Since November 2020, 449 cruise calls were made in Singapore, which alone among regional ports remained active during the pandemic. “More than 800,000 passengers have sailed through Singapore during that time,” said Wong.

Rizki Handayan said cruise ports across Indonesia are expanding to meet high demand. Infrastructure improvements include bigger berths, comfortable gate hold areas and arrival facilities, expanded duty-free shopping, restaurant and cafes.

Fast track immigration with free visa on arrival for all cruise passengers is in the pipeline, she said.

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