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Friday, 20 January, 2017, 18 : 22 PM [IST]

Cruise Tourism 2017 Forecast

Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN
Travel Marketing & India Representative, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

2016 went well for us both in terms of volumes and revenue as we embraced new markets and catered to the people who have high aspiration in lives. 2017 will be an exciting year for us with respect to maintaining this momentum and we are in line with our projections for next year. We have observed that the Indian travellers have turned extremely modern and experimental. Furthermore, the government is diligently working at improving the ports and infrastructure and is serious to make cruise tourism their business. The government announced to add the cruise ports in India, which will help attract international guests. The tourism ministry is working with other parts of the Indian government to develop cruise facilities in the country. As we all know that the cruise business is cyclical, we hope for a promising 2017.

Naresh Rawal,
VP – Sales, Star Cruises

I strongly believe 2017 should be a very strong year for us at Genting Hong Kong Group, we are gearing up to showcase a wide variety of experiential offerings to our friends in the travel trade and guests. We have been witnessing an increase in number of Indian guests on Star Cruises from Tier II and III cities along with B towns, longer itineraries to exotic destinations and choosing higher category cabins are the tending favourites for cruise travellers.

The excitement continues as Star Cruises announces two new builds lined for 2020 and 2021. After a successful deployment of Dream Cruises first vessel Genting Dream Ex Mumbai on October 29, 2016, we are gearing up to launch their second vessel World Dream (launching late 2017) which shall be home ported in Asia and would be delivering the highest level of guest service and spacious comfort in the region. In this year both the new mega ships focus will be to cater to the high-end guests each focusing on 2,000 crew for fewer than 3,400 passengers and the 46% space ratio with showcasing luxury experience and a real asian heart-felt services.

Our new acquired Crystal Cruises is also topping the charts. In 2015, Crystal embarked on the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality, which will introduce three new classes of cruising – Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Exclusive Class Ocean Cruises – and reaching new heights with Crystal Luxury Air. Crystal Cruises offers extensive itineraries traversing the globe, ranging from five days to approximately 100-day World Cruises and regionally focused Grand Cruises.

Currently with three amazing cruise brands Genting Hong Kong is surely looking forward to expand its portfolio to entice the Indian travellers.

Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director,
Cruise Professionals

Cruise Tourism in India has had its ups and downs in all these years, but if looked at different segments, one can find that only the outbound tourism has done well on a sustainable basis. A substantial growth in outbound tourism has been seen in last 10 years. With the deployment of new technologies and the construction of new ships, the cruise industry has been able to meet the expectations of the travellers so far, resulting in this stable growth and strong economic impact around the world. And with the government finally focusing on cruise industry as a serious business, and the private port operators planning to make the necessary arrangements to be done to cater the passengers, the future of cruise tourism seems bright.

Manoj Singh, Country Head – India,
Norwegian Cruise Line

In the last few years, cruising has grown at a rapid pace among Indian travellers. We are witnessing a good season this year and will aggressively look at showcasing our products. The cruise segment will continue to grow multifold this year and we expect strong bookings from Tier II cities as well. Cruising is the only travel segment that will continue to entice the Indian traveller across segments, having realised its value for- money proposition. Every player is bringing competitive products to India and that will work in favour of the segment as a whole.

Kunal Sampat, GM - India, MSC Cruises
The cruising industry as a whole has been experiencing good growth in Indian travellers. Trade partners have been gearing up and promoting cruise holidays very aggressively. Cruise liners have been adding new ships and increasing their inventory in all regions. With more than 50 ships expected to touch Indian shores in 2017, new itineraries and changing travel trends, we are quite optimistic about 2017. Demonetisation effect will prevail in the first quarter; however the slowdown in the last quarter of 2016 can give a huge boost to the upcoming summer season.

Nalini Gupta, Head, Costa Cruises
India & MD, Lotus Destinations

2017 commenced on a very positive note for the Costa cruises India team as we had Costa neoClassica doing sailings between Mumbai and Maldives. We saw very positive response from the Indian market and encouraging support from the government. Since Indians prefer short cruise itinerary of 3/4 nights return itineraries from Singapore, Dubai and Europe and Costa cruises also has sailings from all these ports, I think we are in the right place at the right time. This year we will see our passenger mix from various segments of travel ranging from families, honeymooners, senior citizens, corporate groups, wedding charter, holiday charters.

Kishan Biyani, MD, ARK Travels
We are extremely optimistic for 2017 as the year has started with a great promise. Cruise vessels like Genting Dream, NCL Star and ultra-luxury cruise ship, Regent Voyager along with other cruise lines making their way to Mumbai port in last couple of months has further streamlined and enhanced the cruise tourism perspective for the year 2017. Larger ships and varied itineraries is what the customer is looking for and that is what is being offered in 2017 in the South Asian region. MICE is already showing a growth of 10% for the year. Diwali trends are also looking positive.

We have closed a charter sailing for February 8 on SuperStar Gemini ex Singapore and are looking at blocking more charters for the year. The last minute bookings for Asia for Star Cruises has increased this travel season setting demand for January, February and March, while advance bookings has sharply increased for April, May and June period.

Alaska and Mediterranean cruising, particularly with Norwegian Cruise Lines are showing immense potential prompted by advance bookings which has gone up by 25% as compared to same period last year. We have already booked approx 300 passionate cruisers for May and June period for Alaska and Mediterranean cruise vacations. All in all there is an upward trend and we are extremely positive about it.

Dipti Adhia, Director, Discover the World - India
With the Indian travellers cruising since the last 20 years or more, they have arrived at a point where they distinguish between cruise as an attraction and cruising as a complete vacation. There are now many more players in the fray, but the ones to succeed, will be those who can offer the product and service which is out of the box. India has just began its journey as an emerging market for International cruising.

Pradeep Saboo, Partner, Guideline Travels LLP
In 2017, cruising shall once again continue to be the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. The prime reason for this growth is new megaships such as Genting Dream (in 2016) and World Dream (in 2017) which have been homeported closer to India. They cater to the luxury segment of cruising in Asia which was absent till date. A thriving Indian traveller is sure to embrace this super value experience.

Joseph K. Jose, COO, Travel Tours
While there have been a series of challenges in 2016, we feel the outlook for 2017 is quite positive. While there was uncertainty for over a month post demonetisation, the enquiries have picked up and summer of 2017 looks quite good for outbound travellers from India.

Vineet Shrivastav, Director, Yorker Holidays
Cruise travel definitely provides a unique experience for travellers as they can get experience of various on board entertainments. Cruise travel is in big demand for corporate travellers as they all their leisure wants i.e. entertainment, food and activities are fulfilled at one place. People are also choosing cruise for destination weddings and religious gurus are also using cruises for their spiritual teachings. Overall, Cruise travel segment is expected to achieve new heights in 2017.

Prashant Binnany, Director, Discovery Holidays
The forecast for Cruise travel for 2017 looks good from both retail as well as corporate point of view. With a lot of exploration cruises coming into the market and a push towards providing more superior cabins, the demand for the Cruise travel is increasing extensively.
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