31 October 2018, London (UK) - Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific 2018 came to a close on Thursday 25 October 2018 with over 1,100 professionals from 34 countries across the international cruise industry registered for the three-day conference; marking this year’s event as one of its most successful editions to date. Plans are already afoot for the 2019 event with details to be confirmed at a later date.
Throughout the conference, delegates heard about the most critical issues facing the regional cruise market; including concerns on the slow-down of the Chinese market throughout 2018. Major cruise lines and central government authorities offered a more bullish and optimistic view during the opening sessions.
“With a decade of fast development, China had become the major growth point of the global cruise economy. The concentration of ships deployed in the China market by leading international cruise lines and less attention and experience by local authorities and ports recently caused lots of issues and challenges,” said Wu Wenxue, former vice minister of the China National Tourism Administration.
China’s cruise market had achieved 10 consecutive years of double-digit growth but in 2018 the numbers declined—showing that “China has to focus more on the sustainable development of cruising,” added Wu.
Madam Wang Hong, secretary general of CPC Shanghai Baoshan District of Shanghai Municipal Committee called for a closer collaboration between parties working across the Chinese cruise market, adding “‘China is facing the challenges of limited cruise itineraries and the restriction of multi-port calls along the domestic coastline. That’s why each entity involved in cruising needs to work together.”
Wang went on to highlight the innovative work of Shanghai's Baoshan district. Currently ranked as the world’s fourth busiest port, the district is actively working with ten central government departments to transform the local cruise industry. Its aim is to be within the top three by 2020.
China remained a key topic of conversation throughout the first day. Delegates heard from Dr Zinan Liu, president of China and North Asia, Royal Caribbean International who cited that China is “experiencing the transition from fast development to sustainable development,” he said.
Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia was in agreement. “We know the potential in China is huge. That’s the reason that we should focus on healthy and sustainable development,” he commented.
Before the critical State of the Regional Cruise Market session, delegates heard from Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises on his optimism for the Chinese market, adding that “the best is yet to come if the right steps are taken.” He went on to highlight existing cabotage laws as a prominent issue before asking for restrictions to be eased in order to enable more domestic port call ports in advance of treading international waters.
“This will help put China’s cruise market on a solid and sustainable path for quality growth,” Vago added.
The three day event saw two familiarization trips – both starting with Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and then heading on to either Shanghai Museum of Glass or Shanghai Luodian Ancient Town & Baoshan Temple. The day ended with a Welcome Reception and Dinner at The Delta Hotel by Marriott.
Day two saw the start of the immersive conference programme, which was opened by Andrew Williams (President, Maritime Group, Informa Global Exhibitions).
Williams thanked the event hosts and co-organisers Shanghai Baoshan District People’s Government, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and Shanghai International Cruise Business Institute for their 'support, professionalism, passion and drive in not only making the event possible, but in driving the cruise industry development in China, as all of our sponsors and supporters of this event.’
The final day of the conference programme consisted of a busy schedule including sessions covering: Fly-Cruise; Ship Build and Repair; Reimaging Shorex; Trends, Challenges and Future Plans for Asia Ports and Destinations; Establishing a Customer-Centric Cruise Culture Across Asia and Future Views: Cruise in Asia 2030. Two summit sessions also took place, focus on international cruise research and cruise talent education. In addition Peter Kollar, Head of International Training & Development, CLIA Australasia and Carla Salvadó, Honorary President, Member of the BoD, and Director of Mature and New Source Markets, MedCruise provided an engaging Travel Agent Training session, which was sponsored by MedCruise.
Special thanks to diamond event sponsors Carnival Corporation & PLC and Royal Caribbean International.
Details for Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific 2019 will be confirmed in due course.