Singapore was named Destination of the Year at the eighth Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards, which recognizes achievements in the global cruise industry. Other nominees included contenders from the Mediterranean, such as French Atlantic Ports and Cruise Net Hamburg.
Championing the Cruise Cause
Singapore is the first Asian country to win this prestigious award. One of the reasons Singapore was selected was for its work in promoting cruise not just within Singapore, but in catalyzing the whole region. “The judges commended the STB’s cruise promotion efforts, both within industry circles and in consumer marketing to raise awareness of Southeast Asia cruising,” said Mary Bond, editor of Seatrade Insider.
Singapore has played an integral role in championing regional cruise development through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On this government-to-government platform, Singapore rallied the region to support the cruise industry and to develop port infrastructure to ensure that Southeast Asia has multiple ports ready for bigger ships to be deployed in the region.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this award and would like to share it with all our stakeholders and regional partners. This award is recognition not just for Singapore, but for the whole of Southeast Asia, as it underscores our collaborative efforts in promoting our region as an attractive cruising destination,” said Ms Neeta Lachmandas, Assistant Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Strengthening Trade Knowledge and Capabilities
In addition to government to government work, Singapore also works directly with the industry to address business needs. For example, Singapore facilitated a trade visit to the region in 2013 so that international cruise lines and shore excursion planners could experience first-hand the latest and most relevant cruise itineraries across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This familiarization trip received positive reviews and the second edition will be in November 2014.
Singapore and ASEAN are working with a publisher on a new monthly e-newsletter (“ASEAN Cruise News”) that will report on the latest cruise trends and developments in Southeast Asia. Aimed at travel agents, cruise operators, and industry professionals, this newsletter will also provide key market insights and cruise product information to strengthen trade capabilities across the region. The first issue was launched in early October 2014.
Also in the area of building knowledge within trade, STB collaborated with the Asia Cruise association (now known as the Cruise Lines International Association Southeast Asia) on training sessions for travel agencies around the region. As the cruise market is travel-agent centric, this training helped to build up a pool of cruise specialists, improving the distribution channels to consumers. This training program was conducted across 2013 and 2014, and plans for future session are being currently being developed.
Supporting Industry Marketing and PR Efforts
STB has also been actively working together with the industry on marketing and public relations, to raise consumer awareness of cruising. In 2014, STB led consumer advertising on channels such as print, radio and television, around Asia and also in Singapore.
These initiatives will continue to ensure the flourishing of the regional cruise industry. “We are still in the early stages of Asia’s journey of growth as a cruising region, and we hope that this award can motivate everyone to continue working towards our goal in making Southeast Asia one of the world’s foremost cruise destinations,” said Ms Lachmandas.