|Not only inbound foreign visitors, the Vietnamese middle class is also showing increasing demand for cruises|
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the volume of cruise travellers from Asia has increased from 774,000 in 2012 to more than 3 million in 2016. The projected number for 2017 was 4.2 million passengers. Vietnam now ranks sixth among the regional cruise tourism markets, with around 404 calls in 2017.
“Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for guests from the US, Australia, and Europe, as well as from Asian countries, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this magnificent part of the world,” said Farriek Tawfik, director of Southeast Asia at Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises is owned by US-based Carnival Corporation—the world's largest travel and leisure company—and has a modern fleet of 17 ships.
In 2017, Princess Cruises carried more than 58,000 guests on 22 cruises to Vietnamese ports like Phu My, Nha Trang, Danang, and Cai Lan. This year, Princess Cruises’ six ships in the region—Majestic Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess, and Coral Princess—will be deployed for 31 voyages, bringing more than 80,000 guests to Vietnam throughout the year, up 40 per cent against 2017.
As Asia’s cruise industry continues to grow, the region is welcoming more and larger ships. Cruise itineraries also last longer than before. Some sailings, which used to take place from November to February, now extend to April or even all year-round, according to Tawfik.
Aside from inbound cruise tourists, cruise demand from Vietnam has also increased by 126 per cent from 2012 to 2016, the largest increase in any Asian country. In 2012, there were only 158 Vietnamese cruise passengers, but in 2016, this number was more than 4,100, demonstrating Vietnam’s huge potential for cruise travel demand, according to CLIA.
The strong demand is carried by Vietnam's middle-class population, which is the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia. The middle and upper class in Vietnam will double to 33 million people, about a third of the population, by 2020, which makes it an attractive market for consumer brands, according to Boston Consulting Group.
In addition, cruise passengers from Asia are spread evenly across the age groups, with 55 per cent between 30 and 59 and 33 per cent aged 20-39. Interestingly, a majority of Vietnamese cruise passengers fall in the younger age category.
With the rise of the middle-class and younger passengers, the demand for overseas holidays will increase among Vietnamese opting for cruise travel to destinations such as Europe and parts of Asia. To tap into this demand, Princess Cruises will boost its guest capacity in Vietnam by more than 40 per cent in 2018.
The cruise line is committed to developing cruise tourism in Vietnam by bringing guests from around the world to visit the country on its cruise ships. According to the company, each ship visit contributes to the growth of the local economy through passenger spending on sightseeing, shopping, and food as well as the cruise line’s re-stocking of shipping provisions.
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