Thailand to cash in on holiday cruise business

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BANGKOK, AUG 13 – Thailand is tapping the holiday cruise service sector as a new revenue generating business for the country, a senior Commerce Ministry official said.

Srirat Rastapana, director general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said the holiday cruise business has enjoyed an annual growth of 4.6 per cent.

Cruise line companies have expanded their routes and ships to keep up with the rapid growth offering services to a number of countries in Asia including China, Japan, Taiwan, India and Thailand in the next five years.

The largest number of tourists visited Thailand via two major cruise lines – Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise (Carnival) – mainly between November and March. Each liner accommodates about 3,000 passengers.

Ms Srirat said each passenger spends at least Bt6,000 per day and stays on shore at an average three to four days per visit, generating an annual revenue at Bt2.2 billion.

It is quite possible that major cruise liners add Thailand to their holiday itineraries thanks to the kingdom’s reputable attractions, she said.

She said Thailand should penetrate the new market by facilitating visitors with a one-stop service “Cruise Terminal” and other relevant services including customs procedures, accommodation, restaurants, transportation, tour guides, souvenir shops and onshore excursions.

According to a 2012 report, the US holiday cruise service generated direct and indirect revenues at US$42 billion (Bt1.26 trillion) with more than 17 million customers.

The average income of cruise holiday-maker was US$109,000 (Bt3.27 million) per family and the cruise service created 356,311 jobs.