The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) connected virtually with its in-market cruise stakeholders from India. Based on the theme “Charting our Pathway to Cruise Recovery”, CruiseWorld India 2021 aimed to re-engage with key cruise line and cruise agent stakeholders, after almost a year. The event was presented by STB in partnership with Travel Weekly Asia.
A key event highlight was the panel discussion titled “Power up for a safe return to cruising in Singapore” with well-known industry veterans such as Naresh Rawal, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Genting Cruise Lines, Varun Chadha, Chief Executive Officer, TIRUN Travel Marketing, Mr. Sanjay Kothari, Founder and Managing Director, Just Holidays and Pradeep Saboo, Managing Director, Guideline Travels. It was moderated by G.B Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East and South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board.
Srithar said: “Pre Covid-19, India was Singapore’s top source market for cruise tourism. While commercial travel between the two countries remain paused, it was important for us to reconnect with our cruise partners and renew our close ties through CruiseWorld India 2021. This platform brought together industry leaders to offer valuable insights on how to gear up for when cruising returns, as well help STB to gather feedback on how we can better support our partners.”
Singapore has piloted safe cruises from November 2020, with enhanced protocols to safeguard passenger health from pre-boarding to disembarkation. More than 120,000 Singapore residents have set sail on approximately 90 sailings on Genting’s World Dream and RCI’s Quantum of the Seas from Singapore since the pilot kicked off, with no reported cases of COVID-19 spreading on board. This is an encouraging response in the restart of cruising.
Two of STB’s key cruise line partners, Genting Cruise Lines (“Genting”) and Royal Caribbean International (“RCI”), shared updates and learnings on their resumption of operations in Singapore.
Chadha from TIRUN said: “We were delighted to participate in CruiseWorld India 2021 as it was a key platform to engage with Indian cruise stakeholders and share with the cruise community about Singapore. We remain confident that Singapore is a preferred cruising hub for Indian travelers, given its strong reputation for hygiene and safety, which should give visitors a peace of mind.”
Rawal from Genting said, “We have observed that Indian travellers are still keen to cruise and demand is very much in place. We have resumed our operations on a pilot basis in Singapore on the World Dream, which has been well-received by domestic visitors. Our experience in Singapore is a testament that cruising can continue to be safe and enjoyable, even in a pandemic.”
STB also shared about enhanced support for stakeholders under the Cruise Development Fund (CDF), which supports industry players in their work to build consumer demand for cruises from Singapore. STB had invited Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd to be part a of the event.
Kale said, “It was an honour for us at Thomas Cook India to be selected by STB to partner in their pilot CDF (Cruise Development Fund) India initiative. This enabled us to curate a range of vibrant cruise products that could effortlessly coalesce with our Singapore land product. Keeping an unerring eye on the value seeker Indian market, I am delighted that we were successful in creating a fit for multiple segments – from value to super luxury.”
He added, “We look forward to working closely with the STB on the CDF initiative as this will be of great support to us at Thomas Cook India and the industry as a whole as we progress on our path to recovery, for when international cruising picks up again.”