PolyU Presents Strategies and Policy Implications to
Enhance Hong Kong’s Competitiveness
as a Regional Cruise Hub
The School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (12 November) announced the findings of a study on “Enhancing Hong Kong’s Competitiveness as a Regional Cruise Hub from a Policy Perspective”. The study offers a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to become a competitive regional cruise hub.
Spearheaded by Professor Cathy Hsu, Principal Investigator and Chair Professor of the SHTM, and funded by the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong SAR Government, the project employed rigorous research methodologies, including interviews, focus groups, and survey, to systematically analyse the supply and demand factors.
The cruise industry has experienced a stable growth with an average of 7.2% annual growth rate of passenger numbers since 1990. The rising role of Asia in the global economy in recent years has drawn much attention to the Asia-Pacific region and the cruise industry has started to explore new markets in Asia.
This is particularly true for the Mainland China market as the number of Mainland Chinese tourists taking cruises is expected to surpass 1 million for the first time in 2015. The rapid growth of the cruise industry in Asia provides excellent opportunities as well as raises big challenges to Hong Kong.
“The newly launched HK$8.2 billion Kai Tak Cruise Terminal represents the Hong Kong government’s firm commitment to establish Hong Kong as a regional cruise hub,” said Professor Cathy Hsu.
“While the development of port infrastructures in Asian cities and the growth of the Chinese outbound travel market reinforce Hong Kong’s role, the city is also facing fierce competition from neighbouring ports such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou”, Professor Hsu observed.
Indeed, Singapore and Shanghai have declared their plan of being a regional cruise hub. Neighbouring economies such as Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan are aggressively expanding their cruise port infrastructure and trying to capture the rapidly growing Asian cruise traveller market.
With a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape, the project team presented strategies and policy implications in an attempt to facilitate the Hong Kong government to formulate and implement cruise tourism related policies in support of the development of Hong Kong as a regional cruise hub:
Market to a 3-hour radius region, maximising the benefits of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and high speed rail
Increase Mainland residents’ awareness of short-haul and long-haul itineraries
Increase awareness/interest among Hong Kong residents of cruise holidays
Educate Asian consumers about the nature of cruise
Continue to promote Hong Kong and bring ship deployment
Strengthen transportation to/from Kai Tak CruiseTerminal
Encourage onboard immigration clearance
Explore/develop new neighbouring ports to expand itineraries
Attract more cruise lines to use Hong Kong as their (regional) headquarters
Initiate cross-governmental agency collaboration
Cruise research and education
Avoid duplication of offerings and promote distinctive positioning of each port
Located at a strategic geographical position in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong has been a must-see destination for cruise passengers and other international tourists visiting Asia. But with more and more Asian countries and regions joining the cruise tourism business, Hong Kong needs to further develop its competitive advantages and consolidate its position as a preferred port for cruise lines and cruise travel. “This study provides important information for the Hong Kong government to formulate strategic plans and draw policy implications to support the development of Hong Kong’s cruise industry” Prof Hsu remarked.
Members of the project team (from left to right): Professor Hanqin Qiu, Professor of the SHTM; Professor Cathy Hsu; and Dr George Liu, Assistant Professor of the SHTM
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