CruiseBook travellers on a fly-cruise holiday to enjoy the best of Singapore's land and sea offerings, urges STB’s John Gregory Conceicao at CruiseWorld Indonesia.

Why cruises make an attractive vacation option right now

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Singapore’s combination of land and sea experiences allows travellers to most out of their holidays in terms of time and cost savings.
Singapore’s combination of land and sea experiences allows travellers to most out of their holidays in terms of time and cost savings. Photo Credit: Travel Weekly Asia

At a time when airfares are soaring and accommodation costs rising, a fly-cruise vacation in Singapore could be one of the most attractive, not to mention hassle-free, ways of discovering the destination as well as the region.  

That was an oft-repeated message that cruise industry executives put forth during the CruiseWorld Indonesia 2022, which took place in Jakarta on 4 August.

“At this moment when flight tickets and accommodations are on the high side, cruise is a very good option in addition to an extended stay in Singapore,” said John Gregory Conceicao, executive director, Southeast Asia of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) during a coffee chat with Travel Weekly Asia's senior editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena.

Travellers can make the most out of their airfares to stay longer in Singapore, where they can spend a few days visiting the myriad touristic offerings before/after boarding an all-inclusive cruise to different regional destinations to maximise their travel experience, he added.

Travel agents, in turn, can pair Singapore’s touristic offerings with cruise sailings to create unique travel packages for their customers, urged Conceicao, addressing the 150-plus travel agent attendees at CruiseWorld Indonesia.

“Cruise packages are very attractive, offering food, accommodation and good experiences, so encourage your customers at this point in time to visit Singapore for a few days and embark on cruises from Singapore for a land and sea holiday,” he added. 

“Singapore is the cruise hub for Southeast Asia,” Conceicao said. “Pre-Covid, 1.8 million people cruised from Singapore to multiple destinations around the region like Sumarang, Surbaya, Bali, Port Klang, Penang and Phuket. All of these are very interesting destinations, with a lot of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.”

"For Indonesian travellers who want to visit new places other than the usual ones, visit the Katong and Joo Chiat districts. These are heritage precincts filled with interesting shops and sites," says Conceicao.
"For Indonesian travellers who want to visit new places other than the usual ones, visit the Katong and Joo Chiat districts. These are heritage precincts filled with interesting shops and sites," says Conceicao. Photo Credit: GettyImages/mehdi33300

Rediscovering Singapore's enduring attractions and new sights

Singapore welcomed 1.5 million international visitor arrivals in the first half of 2022 alone, 12 times more than the same period in 2021. Conceicao believes that this “underscores Singapore’s continued appeal as a vibrant and attractive destination for business or leisure travel”, especially for Indonesian travellers.

With more than 282,000 Indonesian travellers visiting Singapore in 1H, taking the crown as Singapore’s biggest tourist source market, this suggests that Singapore is a trending destination for Indonesians. According to Conceicao, the top three reasons for visiting Singapore are for  medical, business and leisure purposes.

Part of the country’s tourism success among Indonesians can be attributed to STB's ongoing marketing and trade engagement efforts in the country.

“What we wanted to offer is for Indonesian travellers to be able to come back to Singapore and rediscover the things they’re familiar with, like Orchard Road, which have not seen in the past two to three years,” Conceicao shared. “But we also wanted them to come back to Singapore for new experiences that they’ve yet to encounter.”

This could come in the form of new attractions like the Museum of Ice Cream, or exploring lesser-known but culturally rich districts of Tiong Bahru, Katong and Joo Chiat.

Other than new attractions, Conceicao holds the conviction that Indonesian travellers will be drawn towards Singapore’s strong pipeline of events, whether it’s MICE or leisure events such as the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

Moreover, Conceicao expects airfares between Singapore and Indonesia will be stabilised in 4Q when Changi Airport resumes more flights from around the world in the coming months.

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