Training key to Asian cruise growth, says cruise line exec
Travel agents are key allies for cruise lines as they look to capitalize on the huge growth potential of cruising in Southeast Asia, but training and awareness lags, according to a cruise line executive.
Addressing government officials, corporate executives and cruise experts in Kuala Lumpur, Farriek Tawfik, Southeast Asia director at Princess Cruises, said there was a need for training travel agents and creating more awareness of the cruise industry in the region.
Asia is the fastest growing cruise market and is expected to welcome over 3.5 million cruise passenger arrivals by 2017.
"Training for travel agents is key to unlocking the regional cruise industry's potential and cruise operators should make this their priority," he said.
Despite the huge potential, Tawfik said, there is a lack of awareness of big ship cruising as a vacation choice.
Tawfik also talked of other strategies for cruise operators to employ when targeting Asian customers, such as providing tailored offerings to local cruisers.
During the industry conference, Malaysia tourism officials targeted the cruise industry as a key factor in its push to increase visitor arrivals to 28million annually.
"The cruise industry is negligible in the overall picture, we have six cruise ports but none can cater for larger cruise ships that could bring in thousands of tourists," said minister Hasan Malek.
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