Hong Kong Tourism and Partner Destinations Celebrate Rebound of Cruise in Asia

Kenneth Wong

The Hong Kong Tourism Board is celebrating the rebound of cruise tourism in Asia. Along with representatives from South Korea, the Philippines, and Xiamen, the group offered a luncheon for cruise industry executives in Miami Beach on Monday.

“We are committed and thoughtful in terms of developing cruise tourism together with all of our lovely partners from Asia and the cruise industry,” said Kenneth Wong, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s MICE & Cruise General Manager.

“We opened our borders at the beginning of last year. So far, in terms of general cruise recovery, we are doing quite well,” he told Cruise Industry News, noting that over ten million visitors have visited the city this year.

Just in the first quarter of 2024, Hong Kong has already recovered over 70 percent of its total arrivals compared to 2018, Wong added.

The cruise business follows a similar trend, he added, and saw a total of 164 cruise ship calls in 2023.

“That’s about 78 percent recovery compared to pre-pandemic good years,” Wong explained.

“I think we’ve already built a very good foundation, and we are already seeing some good signs for 2024,” he continued, noting that cruise lines are returning to Hong Kong.

Royal Caribbean International is one of the players set to offer a full season in the region for the first time since the pandemic.

Other destinations in Asia, including the Philippines, are also experiencing a rebound in cruise tourism, with more ships and passengers.

“We are very excited about the number of calls that we are receiving this year,” said Dr. Paulo Benito Tugbang, Director IV for Product and Market Development at the Philippine Department of Tourism.

He highlighted new operations from luxury cruise lines and expedition brands, which can take advantage of the country’s nature and exotic destinations.

South Korea is also seeing an uptick in cruise arrivals, said Inseong Hwang of South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“As for this year, we expect something around 450 cruise ship visits to Korea, starting from regular cruise lines to high-end luxury brands,” he added.

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