Vietnam has emerged as one of the leading destinations in Asia for international cruise ships after the arrival of more than 400 ships in 2017.
The country ranked sixth among regional countries most visited by cruise ships in 2017, following Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.
“Vietnam is an increasingly popular destination for our guests from the US, Australia, and Europe as well as from Asian countries and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this magnificent part of the world”, said Farriek Tawfik, Director of the Southeast Asia at Princess Cruises, a cruise line owned by the US Carnival Corporation &PLC.
In response to growing demand, the cruise line has significantly expanded itineraries to offer passengers more choices in planning exciting sea trips, he added.
Princess Cruises took 58,000 international passengers on 22 sailings to Vietnam’s Phu My, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Cai Lan ports in 2017. This year, its six cruisers – Majestic Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess, will make 31 voyages and bring some 80,000 visitors to Vietnam.
The line has also pledged assistance to Vietnam’s sea tourism sector by arranging programmes for its customers to discover local landscapes, cuisine, and culture. It will also use local fresh food to serve onboard meals.
The Southeast Asian country itself offers huge potential for cruise passengers. The nation has become a prized market for foreign cruises thanks to its growing affluent middle class which is expected to double in size between now and 2020, to 33 million, or one-third of the country’s population.
Farriek Tawfik said that cruise demand in the country surged 126 percent in the years 2012-2016, the strongest growth recorded in the Asian region. Quoting statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association, he stated that in 2012, there were only 158 Vietnamese cruise passengers; however, the number reached 4,100 just four years later.
To attract more cruise liners, Vietnam should have sufficient seaport facilities and relevant services available at tourist attractions. A friendlier environment should be created for foreign visitors like simplifying visa granting procedures, according to Farriek Tawfik.