Cruise sky-rockets in Asia but prices feel the pressure

The cruise industry is still experiencing rapid growth in Asia, but as the market becomes more crowded, prices could feel the squeeze. This, according to a recent article from Skift, has resulted in a more cautious - yet still predominantly optimistic – attitude towards the industry in the region.

The cruise industry boom in Asia, and most notably China, has been heavily charted over the past few years. Cruise lines have revelled in the high prices they've been able to command as well as the plethora of opportunities afforded by the emergence of a middle class with disposable income and their sights set on travel.

A recent report from Cruise Lines International Association revealed that ocean ship capacity within the region will hit 3.2 million this year whilst statistics collated from last year found that the number of passengers in China rose by 40% to 986,000 in 2015 and by 24% to nearly 2.5 million in Asia as a whole.

Chair of CLIA North Asia and president of Royal Caribbean International's China and North Asia Pacific region, Zinan Liu, commented that despite the belief the organisation had in the Asian cruise industry, they have still been "astonished at the rate at which the region is emerging as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the world."

Of course, along with the increasingly crowded market comes the concern that prices will be squeezed. Industry leaders Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises saw a drop in ticket prices for China during the second quarter.

CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, chalked the drop in revenue to the fact that China has simply struggled to keep pace with the extraordinary growth rates. However, the long-term future is thought to be bright as "the softness in China is being driven mainly by this huge capacity growth rather than by faltering demand."

Carnival Corp. were quick to agree with president and CEO, Arnold Donald, stating: "Overall, China remains a robust opportunity and we're still at the very, very beginning of it."

Skift additionally reported that another of the market leading cruise lines is preparing to make its move on the Asian market - Norwegian Cruise Line is planning to launch its first vessel from Beijing to Shanghai in 2017.

With the devastating recent terror attacks in Europe discouraging tourists from taking their cruise trips to the Mediterranean, we predict the cruise boom in Asia to show no sign of slowing.

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