The cruise industry can be extremely profitable for nations whose cities are popular spots for travel. With the start of the “Wave Season,” cruise companies are getting ready to cater to the busiest time of year for new bookings and eager travelers. However, one city is also hard at work, trying to come up with ways to push for more cruise travel.
Hong Kong’s tourism officials are pushing for more cruise lines to call in the city-state as it prepares for the opening of a new cruise terminal in June. But while officials are eager to stake their claim in the cruise industry, too much maritime traffic at once can lead to accidents resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities for passengers and crewmembers – and the subsequent need for cruise accident lawyers to protect their rights.
Yet, Hong Kong authorities are optimistic, thinking mostly of the potential for revenue that the industry will bring. The new terminal in Kai Tak will be able to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships, which the existing Ocean Terminal was too small for. This will bring about a greater number of travelers, and the increase in visitors will likely also spark new excursions and activities that will be available for curious and adventurous cruisers.
“Three out of 100 American tourists join a cruise tour, but only four out of 10,000 Asian tourists do so,” said Kenneth Wong Cheuk-hung, a general manager with the Tourism Board.
Wong explained that residents of southern China might be interested in cruises from Hong Kong, considering the possibility of round trip itineraries to Taiwan, Vietnam, or the popular Chinese tourist destination Sanya City in Hainan province.
The Tourism Board is already trying to promote the destination. At a forum to be held in Hong Kong next week, the Board will make its case to major cruise companies, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Crystal Cruises, and Star Cruises, in hopes of securing a spot in their travel itineraries.
Additionally, the Tourism Board is also anticipating revenue from overnight cruise ship passengers. The Board explained that cruise ship visitors who stay in Hong Kong overnight spend an average of HK$4,833 ($623) per day, twice as much as regular, land-based tourists.
The Asia-Pacific region is a treasure in and of itself, which the cruise industry recognizes. According to industry officials, there is a potential market of 300 million passengers in the region, which Hong Kong is eager to capitalize on.
Carnival Corp., which has traditionally stuck to Caribbean and European itineraries, said it has focused on the emerging Asian market and plans to add a new Costa Cruises ship in China and a new Princess Cruises itinerary for the Japanese market this year.
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