LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) welcomed two new members to the Asia Cruise Fund, Hainan and the Philippines, last week. Representatives from the four destinations signed an official agreement at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the two-day Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific (CSAP) conference and exhibition took place.
Founded by the HKTB and the TTB in April this year, the Asia Cruise Fund aims at promoting regional cooperation in the area of cruise tourism, and motivating international cruise lines to deploy more ships to and increase their investment in Asia by supporting the development and marketing of cruise products featuring the port partners.
The fund's two new members, together with the HKTB and the TTB, unveiled the news at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, where 400 delegates, including cruise line executives, representatives from port authorities and national tourism organizations, and media representatives, gathered for the welcome reception hosted by the HKTB. The chiefs of the respective tourism organizations expressed excitement at seeing the alliance growing stronger.
Dr. Peter Lam, Chairman of the HKTB, said: "When the HKTB initiated the concept of a cruise co-op fund, we envisioned a strategic alliance which benefits not only cruise lines through funding support for them to market their products, but also the member ports and the Asian region at large, as new itineraries and more ship calls to Asia ultimately enhance consumer interest in cruise travel in the region. We were pleased to receive Taiwan's support for the idea back in February, which made the launch of the Asia Cruise Fund possible. We are excited that Hainan and the Philippines are joining us in our effort. We would like to thank them for their support for the fund, and above all, for their confidence in the Asian cruise industry. Our four destinations will work closely together to encourage cruise lines and our neighboring ports to join and leverage the Asia Cruise Fund to expand their business. Meanwhile, Hong Kong will continue to enrich its cruise offerings and promote its diverse onshore experiences, including unique cultural experiences, and world-class dining and shopping, to cruise passengers from the region and around the world."
Dr. Wayne Liu, Deputy Director-General of the TTB, said: "In February this year, Taiwan and Hong Kong broke through the conventional barriers and signed an Asia Cruise Fund agreement that establishes a model for the Asian area in the joint development of cruise passenger sources at home and abroad. The Philippines and Hainan are joining the co-op fund, transforming the alliance from a single 'line' between two places to an entire 'area'. We are confident that by linking the unique features of these four destinations, we will enrich the content of the Asian packages offered by cruise operators and strengthen their confidence in the Asian market. This will expand the scale and boost the competitiveness of this market, and further brighten the prospects of tourism in Asia. We look forward to closer multilateral cooperation with all the destinations that join the Asia Cruise Fund in attracting international cruise liners to visit us. Also, we will continue working to encourage more Asian destinations wishing to develop cruise tourism to join the Asia Cruise Fund."
Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr., from the Philippine Department of Tourism, said: "The Philippines is now experiencing the burgeoning Asian cruise business, attracting more and more cruise calls to its 7,107 beautiful island destinations. There has been a dramatic influx of cruise arrivals to the country with an average growth rate of 40% over the last two years, which is expected to hit 50% by year-end. This performance milestone has served as the driving force for the Philippines to take on a more active role in strengthening the promotion of the region's cruise industry. Our participation in the Asia Cruise Fund is indeed a significant step as we join the rest of the fund's members in synchronising efforts to diversify our region's product offerings for various cruise markets and attract more of the world's growing cruise travel population."
Mr. Zhu Hongwu, Deputy Director of the Hainan Provincial Tourism Development Commission, said: "The rich resources, advantageous location and favorable policies of Hainan have laid the foundation for the city's cruise development. In fact, cruise travel is now a highlight of Hainan tourism. Through participating in the Asia Cruise Fund, we want to attract cruise lines to develop more itineraries featuring Hainan. This will not only enhance the tourism industry of Hainan, but also bring about a win-win situation for Hainan and our partners."
Hainan and the Philippines will become official members of the Asia Cruise Fund in December 2014 and April 2015, respectively. Their participation is expected to further enhance the scale and value of marketing and promotional support provided by the fund. It will also facilitate itinerary planning by cruise lines, thus enhancing the variety of cruise products and the attractiveness of cruise travel in Asia.
At present, funding has been approved for a number of itineraries featuring Hong Kong and Taiwan developed by various cruise lines. The co-op fund's four partners will work closely together to encourage the introduction of more cruise products, drive the development of the Asian cruise market, and invite other ports in the region to enter this strategic alliance.
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SOURCE Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)