Five Major Cruise Lines Add Phuket to Itineraries

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently been notified by five of the world’s major cruise lines of their plans to add Phuket and Laem Chabang to their itineraries by the 2009 season. Holland American, Oceania Cruises, ResidenSea, Seabourn Cruise Line and Star Clipper informed representatives from the New York offices of the TAT of their intent during the March Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention held in Miami, Florida. The TAT views travellers on these cruises as part of the desirable high-end market of tourists whose level of spending contributes significantly to the country’s tourist income. Currently, 12 cruise ships call in Thai ports annually, including Phuket, bringing about 7,000 visitors to the country.

It has been reported by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association that in 2007, the number of cruise passengers internationally reached approximately 12.6 million, with 85% coming from North America. The Caribbean was the destination for most of these cruise travellers. Seatrade, one of the cruise industry’s largest events in the world, was attended this March by over 11,000 participants, representing 80 countries across the world. More than 900 exhibitors, from over 70 countries, including 11 from Asia, presented their products and destinations at the event.

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