One by one the destinations in Southeast Asia are coming back onto the cruise radar, with Thailand expected to be the next country in the region to reopen its cruise industry to international cruise ships again.
Singapore had reopened domestic cruises since November 2020, and both Malaysia and Indonesia are following suit as Royal Caribbean International and Resorts World Cruises unveiled plans to resume regional sailings to destinations in both countries from 30 June and 1 July respectively.
Thailand, which fully reopened its borders from 1 June, is now gearing up to reopen the country to international cruises, according to Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor for marketing communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Speaking to Travel Weekly Asia at Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2022 in Phuket, Siripakorn said that TAT is now working in close collaboration with the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center to reopen the country's cruise sector in a safe manner and align with global cruise standards.
He also acknowledged the strong pent-up demand for destination cruises in Southeast Asia, especially since Singapore has taken the first move to restart cruises beginning with cruise-to-nowhere sailings. He added that the Singapore ambassador to Thailand has been rallying the Thai authorities to restart the cruise sector in the country.
Phuket will be the first port of call in Thailand to reopen to international cruise ships, likely from July, according to Siripakorn.
When asked which cruise ship would be the first to call in Thailand, Siripakorn declined to share more but stated that a major cruise line would berth in Phuket.
One of the most attractive cruise destinations in the world, Southeast Asia is often pencilled into the itineraries of round-the-world cruise routes. The progressive reopening of borders in the region to international cruise travellers is clearly welcomed news to many.
Watch this space.