- Singapore has become a popular overseas destination among Indians not for its food or casinos but for its cruise.
- Fly cruise tourism has become the new trend
- The cruise operators offer Indian cuisine, Bollywood songs, cultural events, in order to provide a local touch and please the Indian guests
New Delhi, July 30, 2017: The rank of the hawker food or the city-state’s casinos has dropped in the list of the reasons to visit Singapore, as traveling on a cruise is becoming the current favorite activity among Indians.
Singapore is a destination that most Indians have been choosing for their trip abroad, but the case now is that most people wish to go to Singapore, not for all the exciting things they can do there, but to get on a ship.
Rahul Maini, an Indian architect, and his parents embarked on their first trip abroad in May, and with the similar purpose.
Around 100,000 Indians sailed from Singapore last year, making India the biggest market for cruises departing from the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore has become a dynamic entry point for Indian cruise ship passengers.
“We chose to go on a cruise because we could visit three countries in one short trip,” said Maini. The family spent about $7,700, which Maini described as expensive but worth the cost, mentioned the NDTV report.
The expenditure is part of the 777.3 billion rupees ($12 billion) that Euromonitor International has predicted to be the amount that the middle-class Indians will shell out on overseas leisure travel this year. The research company further said that the market is expanding about 10 percent annually and is expected to eclipse 1 trillion rupees by 2020.
The Changi Airport Group, which manages Singapore’s international airport have stated that India is growing the fastest among the city-state’s top 10 inbound passenger markets. Even though the Middle East and France are the most preferred overseas destinations for Indians, Singapore is on the verge of registering a 59 percent jump in arrivals from India from 2015 to 2020, according to Euromonitor.
India has even outperformed china by 3 percentage points this year, as the number of arrivals from the country increased 15 percent in the first five months of this year in comparison with the year earlier. A lot of tourists come particularly to join a cruise.
Fly cruise tourism has also become a trend among Indian tourists.
The number of Indian passengers on Royal Caribbean ships jumped 149 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year. This includes the peak summer school holiday period that runs in India from May to June, said Sean Treacy, the company’s Asia Pacific managing director.
“Singapore is a regional-hub port which is near many attractive Southeast Asian cruise destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” Treacy said. “Voyages from Singapore offer Indian tourists the convenience of visiting multiple destinations across different countries on a single trip while unpacking only once,” he said.
The number of cruise passengers from India leaving via Singapore has been increasing by least 10 percent a year annually, said Michael Goh, senior vice president of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines.
“Perceptions of cruising among Indian travelers are fast-changing,” Goh said.
Royal Caribbean is adding more cruises for India’s summer school holidays, Treacy said.
The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests.
“More Bollywood music may be played at the pool or disco parties, and more jewelry gift sets, which are popular with Indians, may be procured for sailings that host a higher number of them on board,” Royal Caribbean’s Treacy said.
Mani’s overseas holiday has given him a travel bug. “Singapore was good, but the cruise was better,” Maini said, who’s now saving for a cruise from Barcelona.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha