China at the forefront of Asia’s rapidly growing cruise industry

China’s passenger numbers are up by 40 percent in 2015 from the previous year. Pic: Royal Carribean

ASIA has been confirmed as the world’s fastest growing source of cruise passengers with a 24 percent jump in numbers in 2015 compared to the previous year.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report revealed that at least 2.08 million Asians sailed aboard a cruise ship in 2015.

Zinan Liu, chair of CLIA North Asia, said, “While we expected Asia to experience record-breaking growth in cruise travel, we are astonished at the rate at which the region is emerging as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the world.”

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Unsurprisingly, China accounted for the largest share of the numbers, making up almost half of the total passenger count, or 986,000 passengers. China’s numbers are up by 40 percent from the year before.

In China, new ships are being deployed every year, and cruise lines are pleased with the high prices they’re able to command as well as the opportunity they see in a growing middle class.

Australia came in second in the passenger list, recording a significant 14.6 percent growth from 2014.

So far, it seems that Asians tend to lean towards shorter cruises, with half of the total cruises booked clocking in six nights or less. Within those estimates, 83 percent of ships set sail from China.

However, Japan is the most popular cruise destination in Asia with 1,526 port calls in 2015. This is followed by China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. The most visited port in 2016 is predicted to be South Korea’s Jeju Island.

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1,560 cruises have been scheduled for 2016, up 43 percent from last year. 3.2 million passengers from Asia are expected to set sail on the high seas, a figure that is sure to keep the industry afloat.