Indians work on high seas but yet to take a cruise

Indians work on high seas but yet to take a cruise

The country may be responsible for 30% of the global staff for the international cruise sector but as a contributor towards cruise passenger volumes, India comes behind China and Taiwan, contributing just 6% of cruise passengers. There were 1.26 lakh Indians who took a cruise vacation in 2016, making India the sixth largest Asian market for the sector.

While average age for Asian tourists stood at 45 years, young Indians in the 37-year-old age bracket went on cruise vacation, said a report by Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade assoction.

But cruise liners expect more people taking vacation on board their ships due to growing middle class with disposable income. “Here in India, the market has started developing slowly and maybe with time they may think that this is much more viable than land based vacations. I think India is going to be a growing market,” Apollo Group senior director Othmar Hehli told a daily.

Florida-based Apollo Group provides services to Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Island Cruises and Thomson Cruises. Hehli also said the cruise liners predominantly employed people from Indian and the Philippines: “30% Indians and 35% Filipinos, because we hire across 40 different nationalities. Hardly anyone travels from Philippines and India”.
He also said the cruise industry is growing to expand exponentionally. “At least 83 cruise ships are going to be built over the next 10 years, that is 250,000 berths. So, the cruise line is growing at a staggering pace,” Hehli said.
Given that the cruise industry is dominated by European and American tourists, the culinary fare attempts to cater to their palate and this is one of the deterrent for Asian and Indian tourists. The CLIA report states that there are 31 active cruise line brands operating in Asian waters and 47% of the clientele comes from China followed by Taiwan at a distant 11%.
“I would imagine that in the next 10 years there will be more Indians travelling, because typically the biggest countries contribute the most people. With 1.2 billion people and with a younger population earning and a growing middle class, there will be growth,” Hehli said.

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