Adoption of cruises slow among Singapore’s corporates

DESPITE mounting interest among Singapore-based corporate firms to charter cruise ships for business events, this segment has yet to take off, according to Mona Foo, head of sales, Singapore, Royal Caribbean Cruises.

“In Royal Caribbean’s case, most of our charters derive from China, where there’s sufficient volume to warrant chartering large cruise ships, either wholly or partly. Multinational companies in Singapore tend to charter ships only if they can build numbers by roping in employees from other regional destinations,” said Foo.

Singapore-based corporate clients, as outlined by Foo, tend to request for cruise departures to Thailand and Malaysia for an average of three nights.

Speaking to an audience of travel consultants at a training session at Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific on Tuesday, Foo emphasised that clients were drawn to hosting MICE events on ships as they offered more value. “Corporations don’t have to fork out for separate elements, itineraries and activities can be customised and there’s an opportunity to drum up publicity,” she explained.

Alex Yip, general manager, Siam Express, expressed that chartering cruises for MICE does make business sense, but in order for travel consultants and event planners to convince their clients to pick ships as a MICE venue, it was crucial that travel consultants and event organisers were given the opportunity to experience the different MICE products and services cruise lines have.

“Only then, will you be able to give the right advice in regards to which cruise ship suits a client’s event best,” he said.

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