Singapore Becomes World’s Busiest Cruise Port (For Now)
Singapore is once again in the news for making sure tourism stays on course. Apart from being the first airline to trial the IATA travel app and also going to be the first to officially use it come next month, Singapore is in line with making tourism more accessible to every one
Singapore now accounts for one-third of global cruise travelers, a testament to the nation’s ability to contain the coronavirus and resume operations at a time when many other countries are still struggling. This feat is owing to the roaring success of its “cruises to nowhere” at a time of crisis in the industry globally.
The city-state launched what it called “round trips” on luxury liners in November, which have no port of call and last only a few days.
Till now, more than 120,000 residents of Singapore have taken a cruise — many multiple times. Because of the overwhelming demand, heightened by international travel remaining largely off-limits, the cruises have been extended until October. Two operators are offering the trips, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Genting Cruise Lines.
Singapore Tourism Board CEO Keith Tan however downplayed Singapore’s dominance, noting that cruising in most other places of the world is yet to restart, hurting an industry that was worth $150bn in 2018.
“Let me just say this in context — one-third of global cruise throughput in a time when virtually all other cruise destinations and cruise ports have stopped or are not moving at all is nothing to crow about,” Tan said. “Over the next few months, I certainly believe there will be more resumption of cruise business in the Caribbean, and in the Mediterranean as well.”
Singapore’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with visitors dropping nearly 86% to 2.7 million last year.