Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is organising CruiseWorld India 2021, in a bid to connect virtually with its in-market cruise stakeholders from India. With the theme “Charting our Pathway to Cruise Recovery”, STB aims to re-engage with key cruise line and cruise agent stakeholders, after almost a year. GB Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East and South Asia, STB, shares how the event would help them in re-engaging with the trade.
By: Nisha Verma
Please share the details about CruiseWorld India 2021?
With the CruiseWorld India 2021 virtual event on April 6 2021, the STB India aims to re-engage with our partner-friends in the cruise holiday business. Themed “Charting our Pathway to Cruise Recovery”, the event will highlight the safe, gradual resumption of cruise operations in Singapore and provide destination updates.
India is one of the largest source markets for cruise tourism in Singapore and the event will enable the cruise travel fraternity in India to come together, share and exchange ideas on cruising from Singapore.We are bringing together industry leaders and experts, from cruise lines to travel agents, to share insights and advice on how the future of cruising will look like.
The event is expected to be attended by around 500 participants, comprising pan-India cruise travel agents, various cruise lines, and other relevant tourism stakeholders.
The event will be addressed by key spokespeople from the industry such as Mr. GB Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East and South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board; Mr. Naresh Rawal, VP, Sales and Marketing, Genting Cruise Lines; Mr. Varun Chadha, Chief Executive Officer, TIRUN Travel Marketing; Mr Sanjay Kothari, Just Holidays, Kolkata; Mr. Pradeep Saboo, Guideline Travels and Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head Leisure Travel & MICE, Thomas Cook India Limited.
What is the purpose behind doing this event and what will be the message for the trade, especially when Singapore hasn’t opened for tourists?
The main purpose of the event is to re-engage and rebuild confidence for Destination Singapore amongst India’s cruise stakeholders. STB India is keen to support and work with the trade to discuss how best we can support them and be prepared to receive Indian travellers when international travel resumes.
Singapore is considered the cruise capital of South East Asia. What steps are you taking to maintain the title, despite the cruise industry going through a tough time and is likely to revive much later?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global travel trade economy including the cruise industry. In these challenging times, the industry has showcased resilience in adapting to the changes brought on by the pandemic.
Focusing on the safe and gradual return of cruising, cruise lines have been reviewing their processes to implement enhanced health and sanitisation measures, with STB’s support. Singapore commenced pilot trial of “cruise to nowhere” itineraries for Singapore residents with two operators – Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International last year. The programme received overwhelming response with over 90 sailings and more than 120,000 passengers so far.
To rebuild consumer confidence and demand for cruise, STB established the CruiseSafe Certification, which is mandatory for all cruise lines to obtain before they can resume their sailings out of Singapore. Singapore is the first country in the world to develop and implement a mandatory audit and certification programme for cruise lines before they can commence sailings.
The certification is benchmarked against global standards and protocols as well as national measures such as SG Clean. It serves as an independent endorsement and mark of quality for increased assurance that cruise ships have rigorous on-board safety and hygiene measures in place. This boosts confidence in cruise as a safe travel option.
STB is also working closely with the National Environment Agency (NEA) and other government agencies on the “SG Clean” certification programme. To date, more than 29,000 premises have been certified SG Clean across Singapore, including the Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.
STB is working closely with industry partners to chart a new path for the tourism sector, including cruise. The Tourism Recovery Action Task Force (TRAC), comprising tourism leaders from both the private and public sectors, was set up in February last year to develop and implement joint recovery strategies. TRAC will help identify opportunities arising from COVID-19, driving and implementing measures to co-create recovery plans and instil confidence in Singapore’s tourism sector, including helping our homeported cruises.
We are committed to setting new protocols in health and hygiene with our partners and chart the new way forward for cruising in Southeast Asia and beyond. We are confident that cruise performance will pick-up. We have a strong pipeline of cruise ships calling in Singapore, across various cruise brands and markets. Singapore remains well-poised to capture the demand when it returns, due to our geographical location and good infrastructure.