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					STRAITS TIMES



         Dec 14, 2010

         Cruise travellers in Asia may reach 7m by
         2015
         By Lester Kok



         BY 2015, Asia's cruise industry may well see seven million passengers a year, three times the number
         previously forecast.

         This growth wave was mentioned by Mr Soo Kok Leng, chairman of the Singapore Cruise Centre
         which hosted the first Asia Cruise Terminal Association meeting yesterday .

         Formed in June, it acts as a forum for members to cooperate to raise standards. Nine of its 12
         members, from places like China, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan, attended the one-
         day meeting at the Amara Hotel.

         In his opening speech, Mr Soo said a forecast of two million cruise passengers in the Asia-Pacific
         region by 2015 - published in 2005 by Ocean Shipping Consultants based in Britain - was 'too
         conservative'.

         'It underestimated the economic growth in Asia and the pace at which the region's middle class is
         growing,' he added.

         Six million to seven million passengers would be more accurate, assuming that only a tenth of the
         population in the region reaches middle class by 2015, and cruising penetration rates reach 3.2 per
         cent, he said.

         Currently, only 0.05 per cent of the 3.5 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region go on cruises, versus
         3.2 per cent of 330 million people in North America and 1 per cent of 500 million people in Europe.

         Industry players said the number for the Asia-Pacific region this year would have already exceeded
         the two-million mark. Hong Kong already had 2.15 million cruise passengers in 2005 while Singapore
         saw a record 1.138 million passing through HarbourFront last year, the most in the terminal's 19-year
         history.

         As such, industry folks agree that the projection for seven million passengers by 2015, although high,
         is not impossible to attain.

         There is also the growing China market, which will get a boost when the nation's biggest terminal in
         Shanghai is completed early next year.

         Still, there are challenges, said a Royal Caribbean International spokesman, citing the need to build
         greater awareness of cruising as a vacation option and the development of infrastructure to handle
         bigger ships.

         Here, the $500 million International Cruise Terminal in Marina South, which will double the cruise
         berthing capacity, is due to open at the end of next year.

         Mr Soo said that with Asia's strong economy outpacing that in the West after the global financial
         crisis, the industry here is expected to make bigger waves. Last month, it was reported that Star


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STRAITS TIMES

         Cruises and Silversea Cruises had seen a 30 per cent jump in passenger numbers from Singapore this
         year, compared to the last.

         Noting Asia's 5 per cent share of the global market, he said it can go further and be the 'Caribbean of
         the East', given the similar all-year sailing conditions and variety of ports and destinations.




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