New Carnival COO Sees Significant Growth Potential in Asia

Travel News Asia Videos Podcasts Latest Travel News Asia Thursday, 6 March 2014

Carnival Corporations new Chief Operations Officer, Alan Buckelew, has said that he sees significant growth opportunities for its cruise lines in Asia in 2014 and beyond.

Already the company has nearly doubled its market share in Asia in the past two years alone, but Buckelew believes there is potential for double-digit growth in the Asian market in the next 10 years.

The cruise vacation market is in its infancy in Asia, and we see this region as one with exciting growth potential, said Buckelew, the former CEO of Princess Cruises who has extensive experience in Asia.

Today, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises have a total of five ships with Asia homeport cruising. Additional Carnival Corporation brands sailing in Asia include AIDA Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (Australia) and Seabourn.

Carnival recently announced that Pier Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Asia, has elected to retire. The companys veteran executive Paul Chong, based in Asia and now reporting into Buckelew, will continue to lead the corporations expansion efforts in Asia, along with support from Bill Harber, Vice President, Marketing Development. The expansion has included the hiring of more than 100 people in new offices throughout the region.

In July of last year, Carnival announced the opening of five new offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu that now represent Princess Cruises and support the brands increased passenger sourcing in this growing region. Offices were also opened in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan. The offices also support sister cruise brand Cunard Line.

The Asia market is critical to our long-term success, so we will continue to invest in this market through our people and our resources, Buckelew said. Our new offices opened in Asia last year will support our efforts to increase the number of passengers sourced for our homeport cruises in the region.

According to Buckelew, key markets for growth in the Asia Pacific region are China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, but there are other growth opportunities in markets throughout the area that the company will continue to explore.

Last August, Princess Cruises announced it is entering the China market this year, naming Shanghai as home port for Sapphire Princess during a four-month season expected to carry 65,000 passengers. The new roundtrip cruises, which will begin in May, will bring a brand-new premium cruise experience to the rapidly growing China vacation market. Princess will offer the quality and comfort sought by discerning Chinese travelers, delivered by the largest premium cruise line in the world.

"Were excited to bring a new premium cruise travel experience to Chinas shores, said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. Though we have carried thousands of Chinese travelers on our ships over the years, we think the timing is right for a new type of vacation experience for the Chinese consumer, one we describe as Princess Class.

Likewise, Costa Cruises unveiled the new Costa Victoria last November when the ship departed from Singapore for her first cruise after an $18 million dry-dock upgrade. Elegant and totally refurbished with new balconies, terraces and windows, Costa Victoria boasts an unmistakable style that marries traditional nautical style with essential design, making this ship a refined and stylish work of art.

The Costa Victoria first entered the China market in May 2012, heralded as Asias first fashion cruise and admired by Chinas eastern coasts fashion elite for its fantastic array of European designer ware at duty-free prices.

Our investment in Costa Victoria means she is offering our valued Chinese passengers the finest and most enjoyable cruising holiday, which speaks to our long-term commitment to this market, said Buhdy Bok, Senior Vice President, Pacific Asia & China of Costa Crociere S.p.A. As the first international cruise company to enter the China market in 2006, Costa Cruises is proud of how weve developed alongside China and have been able to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for cruise holidays with innovative and high-quality cruising options.

Costa was also the first company to position two cruise ships in Asia year round. In July 2013 the Costa Atlantica joined the Costa Victoria. Both ships are fully dedicated to the local markets.

Costas main homeports in the region are Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tianjin; other homeports are Xiamen, Yokohama, Incheon, Keelung and Pusan.

Elsewhere in the region, Princess Cruises Sun Princess sailed its first Japan season last year, marking the first time an international cruise line has offered homeport cruising there.

Carnival Japan offices are now located in Tokyo and Osaka, and are supporting the dramatic growth of Princess cruise vacations, which will increase to approximately 100,000 passengers in 2014 with the addition of a second ship, Diamond Princess, dedicated to Japan cruising,

Our first homeport cruise season was very successful, and we continue to believe there is substantial untapped demand for cruise vacations there, Swartz said. We look forward to continuing to help develop the full potential of the cruise market in Japan.

In Southeast Asia, Princess will sail its Sapphire Princess from the vibrant cruise hub of Singapore for a four-month season in 2014-15 in the largest deployment ever by a premium cruise line in the market. The approximately 40,000 passengers expected to depart from Singapore will cruise the regions major metropolises as well as off-the-beaten path jewel destinations.

Our new Singapore-based deployment features superior itineraries specifically designed for the regional market which we believe will prove extremely popular and will help to introduce cruise vacations to a growing number of Southeast Asia vacationers, said Swartz.

Carnival, COO, Costa Cruises

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