(PRESS RELEASE)_Hong Kong (March 28, 2023) – Like a fortunate forecast of calm waters, clear skies, and soothing breezes, everything has come together at just the right moment for the return of international cruise liners to Hong Kong and for the destination to regain its position as Asia’s Cruise Hub. That was the message enthusiastically delivered by the Hong Kong Tourism Board at a special lunch reception for media and cruise line representatives held yesterday, March 27, during Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s preeminent annual business-to-business event, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Reactivating the Market by Building a Win-Win Partnership with Cruise Lines
In just the past two months, the Hong Kong market has resecured the advantages that make it so appealing for international cruise lines. “With the mask mandate lifted, Hong Kong is shining anew as one of the most exciting harbor cities and desirable destinations for cruise travelers from all over the world. In 2023, we secured over 160 ship calls from 16 cruise lines. This signifies a full resumption of Hong Kong’s cruise scene. The speedy recovery of the cruise industry in Hong Kong can be credited to the trust and relationships we have built with cruise lines,” said Hong Kong Tourism Board’s MICE & Cruise General Manager, Kenneth Wong.
The elegant Silver Spirit of Silversea sparked the start of the cruise season in Asia with its debut return to Hong Kong in mid-January. Noted Adam Radwanski, Silversea’s Managing Director – Asia Pacific: “Hong Kong constitutes one of the most important ports in Asia for Silversea Cruises and our discerning guests, who appreciate the enriching experiences, the welcoming people, and the spectacular cityscape that awaits them on each call to the destination. In January 2023, Silversea became the first international cruise line to return to Hong Kong’s waters in almost three years – facilitated by the invaluable collaboration of the local government, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and the port authorities. This is a strong representation of our long-term commitment to Hong Kong. With four ultra-luxury ships sailing in Asia Pacific waters in 2023, Silversea is investing heavily in the region and has seen tremendous growth within this market. We look forward to building on our close collaboration with Hong Kong for years to come, as we continue to offer our guests unique experiences in this iconic destination.”
The visits and deployments from Silversea Cruises, TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and the year-round homeporting of Resorts World Cruises highlight the city’s potential for accommodating a variety of cruise products, as well as the flight network’s availability for development of fly-cruise turnaround itineraries for short-haul and long-haul markets.
Growing Potential in Source Markets
Flights connecting destinations and hubs around the world have ramped back up, including the resumption of United Airlines’ nonstop service to and from Hong Kong, joining Cathay Pacific as the dominant air carriers from the U.S.
“To accommodate the vast growth in aviation, the Hong Kong International Airport is implementing an expansion plan for the three-runway system which when the project is completed, will be able to handle 30 million more passengers a year by 2030,” said Kenneth Wong.
Since the beginning of the popularization of the global cruise industry, Hong Kong has been a standout setting for cruise lines to develop new products and entice new clientele from the enormous Mainland market of 86 million people who zip in from cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area via High Speed Rail and the iconic Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest sea crossing in the world.
New Offerings for Travelers to Experience and Enjoy
The Hong Kong Tourism Board launched a large-scale “Hello Hong Kong” global promotional campaign focused on showcasing the city’s reopening with its legendary vibrancy and exciting new developments, events, and activities, all of which were introduced by Kenneth Wong at the Seatrade Cruise Global luncheon.
Brighter Future with Extensive Support from Hong Kong Tourism Board
The Hong Kong Tourism Board is working and communicating closely with cruise operators for continued top-level industry productivity and efficiency. New initiatives introduced by Kenneth Wong at the Seatrade Cruise Global luncheon, include “multiple aspects of support, such as itinerary planning facilitation, port operating costs subsidy, and consumer demand-stimulating campaigns, to ensure cruise line deployment is an unprecedented success.”
According to Kenneth Wong, “all signs point to a strong international cruise comeback and a bright future. We expect a robust cruise agenda as lines and visitors return to what has always been a leading Asia cruise hub and tourism capital.”
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