During IT&CMA 2018 at the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld the region’s first Asian MICE Cruise Conference was held as part of the show’s 3-day business, education and networking programme in Bangkok, Thailand. Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media welcomed the audience to this very special occasion and opened the half-day event together with keynote speakers of the Cruise Industry (Angie Stephen, Royal Caribbean Cruises; Steve Bloss, Worldwide Cruise Associates and Michael Goh, Star Cruise Travel Service). In a CEO Cruise panel discussion, the Cruise-CEOs were talking about current challenges, traveller trends, business opportunities and the future of the Cruise-MICE-segment in the Asian and worldwide markets.

Darren Ng went on to say that “Cruise offers a huge playing field for its many stakeholders, where its potential rests on the immense collaboration between the private and public sector across verticals and geographies to ensure that the right policies, infrastructure, facilities, products and services are in place.”

Darren Ng:”According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2017 Asia Cruise Trends, cruise capacity across all metrics (number of ships, voyages, operating days and passengers) has increased significantly since 2013 with greater uptrend expected in the foreseeable future. Asia remains at the heart of this growth with passengers from this region quadrupling over 5 years. Last year, passenger capacity was estimated at 4.24 million”

Darren Ng talking to the audience at the opening of the CEO Cruise Panel Discussion at IT&CMA 2018

Said Karen Yue, Editor of TTGmice and Group Editor of TTG Travel Trade Publishing, “The cruise industry is booming and MICE is undoubtedly the next big thing for the sector. Market leaders are already capitalising on the potential, while many are still coming into the game. TTGmice is proud to put forth this first and only platform of its kind in the region – an open conversation with the world’s leading cruise executives.”

Around 400 international MICE stakeholders and worldwide Media professionals attended the session and were interested in getting some insights for their local businesses. Side topics came from the interested audience which mostly dealt with capacities and costs for MICE events onboard, Visa regulations for special tour operators and aspects of sustainability in the product life cycle of the growing number of possible passengers on cruise ships in general.

On this behalf, Steve Bloss (WCA) said that Cruise Ships – often named as “floating cities” – were more efficient than most modern cities were nowadays and forced to focus on waste reduction onboard wherever possible.

“Today, there is low awareness among organisers and companies that MICE events can be organised easily and held successfully onboard of cruise ships”, said Farriek Tawfik (Princess Cruises). “As a possible budget-saving, all-inclusive alternative to hosting a meeting at a luxury resort, cruises also offer plenty of interaction and teambuilding opportunities, as well as a unique experience onboard.”

Cruise CEOs discussing future trends in the Cruise and MICE business ( Foto 2:Robert Raback)

The half-day event was designed for buyers covering corporate incentive, meetings and events, incentive trips, luxury travel, associations and academics. Hotels, resorts, airlines, destination management companies, government representatives from national tourism organisations, convention visitor bureaus and ports, and international media professionals.