The region experienced an unprecedented 24 per cent increase to 2.08 million people from the region taking an ocean cruise last year, according to the lastest Asia Cruise Trends study conducted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
China accounted for almost half the region’s cruise passengers, with 986,000 Chinese passengers taking a cruise in 2015, up 40 per cent from 703,000 in 2014.
This figure makes China the world’s fastest growing source nation for cruise passengers in 2015, with source markets like Hong Kong (126,800), India (125,900), Japan (179,900), Singapore (182,700) and Taiwan (228,700) also in the lead.
Consequently, sailings in the region have increased with 1560 sailings scheduled for 2016, up 43 per cent on last year. This is achieved with 60 ocean cruise ships sailing in Asia versus 52 operating in 2015.
In terms of passenger capacity in Asia, the industry has seen a 54 per cent increase year-on-year, with the number expected to reach 3.2 million by the end of 2016.
“The cruise industry has been nimble and responded quickly to the demand for cruise travel in Asia by delivering cruise ships with amenities and experiences tailored to Asian travellers,” said CLIA president and CEO Cindy D’Aoust.
“Asian cruise travel has also become an enticing way for international guests to visit Asia's fascinating destinations in a comfortable and convenient way."
CLIA’s report also showed that passengers from the region continue to prefer shorter ocean cruise lengths. In 2015, almost 30 per cent of passengers continued to choose cruises two to three nights in length and half chose four to six night cruises.
Meanwhile, almost a fifth of passengers chose extended cruises of seven to 13 nights. As a result, the average length of cruises offered in the region has increased slightly from 5.2 nights in 2014 to 5.3 nights in 2015.
Cruising in Asia includes more than 204 destinations across 17 countries. Japan remains the most popular destination country with 1526 port calls in 2016, followed by China (850), South Korea (745), Vietnam (466) Malaysia (422) and Singapore (391). The most visited port in 2016 will be Jeju Island with 460 calls.
“China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam are the top five destinations in Asia, experiencing more than 4,000 calls in total,” said CLIA Asia secretary general David Goh, citing the report.
It was further revealed that 84 per cent of Asian passengers cruised within the region with 38 per cent of all cruisers being aged below 40 years.