Carnival Corporation & plc today officially opened its regional office in Singapore. The Singapore office houses the new Carnival Asia unit which was created to oversee the company’s expansion in Asia.
Celebrations of the office opening started in the afternoon with Carnival Asia Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi at a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a traditional “lion dance” performance, a centuries-old Asian tradition designed to usher in prosperity and represent the dynamism and tenacity of the company.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry, who was in Singapore for the landmark event, said the official opening highlighted Carnival's commitment to grow the cruising sector in the region and tap the potential growth opportunity.
Ms Sherry pointed to parallels between Carnival Australia’s growth story and the great opportunities to build the sector in Asia.
“Carnival Australia’s success in the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific region was built on a multi-brand strategy and an efficient distribution network that has made it easy for passengers to discover cruising as a great holiday option,” Ms Sherry said.
“Our Carnival Asia growth is off to a great start with major centres in Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai making big investments in port infrastructure to attract cruise ships and the economic benefits they deliver.
“Asia is emerging as a potential powerhouse of cruise industry growth and we know from our own experience that an increasing number of Australians are looking to Asia for new destination and cultural experiences.
“There are also a vast number of people in Asia itself ready to experience the pleasures of cruise holidays region and Carnival Asia will play a very big part in making this a reality.”
The opening ceremony in Singapore was followed by a reception and dinner in the evening on board the Costa Atlantica which made its maiden call to Singapore today. Singapore’s Minister (Prime Minister’s Office) and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, Mr. S. Iswaran, was the Guest-of-Honour at this event that marked the opening of Carnival Asia in Singapore.
The evening event was attended by more than 300 guests with Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry joining Singapore government officials, local dignitaries and VIPs as well as senior representatives from the travel industry such as Christine Duffy, President and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
“Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing cruise regions, and the establishment of our regional office in Singapore underscores Carnival Corporation & plc’s significant step towards developing these markets,” said Mr Foschi. “We intend to capitalize on our global expertise and work closely with our valued partners in order to grow the benefits of cruising in the region.”
As part of its expansion strategy for the region, Carnival Corporation & plc brands Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises continue to grow their operations in Asia.
Costa Atlantica, the biggest ship in the Costa fleet to be deployed in the region, set sail to Asia for the very first time this week, joining Costa Victoria and more than doubling Costa’s capacity in Asia. Costa Atlantica will set sail from Singapore to Malacca and Penang for 3-night journeys, and it will also depart for 4-night trips to Phuket and Langkawi.
Princess Cruises will be introducing the largest deployment ever by a premium cruise line in the region when it brings Sapphire Princess to Singapore for four months from November 2014. The itineraries, which vary from three to 11 days, will combine various destinations such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, and Ko Samui.
“The market potential for cruising in Asia is huge as the total potential number of cruise passengers can reach 3.7 million in 2017, and this number can double to over seven million by 2020,” said Mr. Foschi.
Mr Foschi noted that the benefits of growing the regional cruise industry to homeport destinations are significant, providing direct and indirect economic impact and employment in providing goods and services to ships, passengers and crew, as well as adding to tourist arrivals with the influx of North American and European guests vacationing in the region.
Carnival Asia is a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK). Together, these brands operate 101 ships totaling 205,000 lower berths with eight new ships scheduled to be delivered between May 2013 and April 2016.