The future of Taiwan's cruise tourism market looks rosy as both international and local cruise liners are taking advantage of local ports to open new routes, the Taiwan International Ports Co. that oversees the country's ports said recently.
Officials said northern Taiwan's Keelung Port, which has already been hosting foreign cruise operators such as China Ocean Shipping Company and Star Cruise, could start handling more cross-strait and international cruises later this year.
Keelung Port official Jeffrey Tsao said new players eyeing the lucrative market include the U.S.-based Royal Caribbean Cruises, which will provide three separate cruises to Keelung in August and September via its "Voyager of the Seas"- a 140,000-ton luxury cruise ship.
Hong Kong-based Profit Summit Deluxe Cruise Ltd. is also in discussions with the port to open a new route for its "Ocean Dream" cruise liner in the near future, Tsao said.
"Taiwan's market for international cruise tourism is huge as our location is good for travel in Asia," he said.
In addition to foreign cruise liners, local businesses have shown increasing interests to run cruise travel, said Liang Sun-po, an official from central Taiwan's Taichung Port.
Liang said for instance, a Taiwanese company, Asia Star Cruise Management Operation, is in the planning stages to operate the country's first around-the-island route that could connect the ports in Keelung, Taichung and other areas.
The company does have an ambition to explore the cruise tourism market in Taiwan, according to its Public Relations officer Celine Lai.
It is because of growing consumer spending in Taiwan and expanding ties between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, she said.
The new travel style has become affordable to many locals, while cruise tourism has also attracted Chinese tourists because it provides a unique way to experience Taiwan, Lai said.
"We want to introduce another kind of lifestyle to locals and tourists," she said. "Having fun on the land and having fun at sea are quite different."
(Source: 25 June 2012)
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