As many travel-starved Hong Kong residents turn to local cruises amid a continued pause in travel, one travel agency hopes to seize the growth opportunities that Hong Kong's cruise restart has brought.
Asia draws a younger demographic and we see great potential to leverage the online channel to penetrate and scale out in the Asia Pacific region.
Hong Kong-based Goldjoy Travel has launched a real-time cruise booking service by partnering Genting Hong Kong's two cruise lines Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises.
The Direct Connect offering allows end-to-end cruise booking services via Goldjoy's website, offering travellers real-time cruise cabin pricing, availability and online reservation capability with instant confirmation.
Goldjoy’s Executive Director Dr. Frederick Yip said, “This is Asia's first direct cruise booking collaboration, and it is an important milestone to show that we are dedicated to establishing ourselves as not only Hong Kong's leading cruise OTA but also in the entire Asia region."
The collaboration with Genting is just the beginning, and Yip hopes to tap changing trends and demographics Hong Kong's cruise restart has brought.
Like in Singapore and Taiwan, where Genting Cruise Lines have resumed services, Hong Kong's cruise restart led by Dream Cruises' Genting Dream in July has attracted many families as well as first-time cruisers in Hong Kong.
Interestingly, the demographics have changed, observed Yip.
Travellers can now book Crystal Cruises online through Goldjoy Travel's Direct Connect service.
“The average age of the Hong Kong cruise passenger pre-Covid was 54 but with cruise to nowhere sailings, we are now seeing an average age of 38”, he said.
“We expect these families and first-time cruisers will get to experience what cruising is really like on board these mega cruise ships and debunk the misconception that these ships have only casinos or are only for the seniors”.
Furthermore, with Asia's cruise market largely still in a nascent stage, Yip believes there is much growth for Goldjoy to tap when global travel picks up.
“Asia was seeing double-digit growth in cruise passengers volume pre-pandemic, but yet this was still a small percentage compared to the entire cruise market globally – more than 75% are from North America and Europe," noted Yip.
"Asia draws a younger demographic and we see great potential to leverage the online channel to penetrate and scale out in the Asia Pacific region," he added. “We expect many new cruise ships designed for the Asia market being deployed in region in the coming years."
Besides Genting, Goldjoy has also partnered Uber to provide point-to-point transfer services for cruise travellers in its upcoming “Cruise in Comfort” programme. This will entail complimentary Uber Taxi transfer services sailing out from Hong Kong’s Kai Tak cruise terminal and international airport for fly-cruise packages.