ASIA PACIFIC. The world’s largest independent cruise ports operator has made breakthroughs at two significant locations in Asia Pacific. The fast-evolving region accounts for 15% of cruise deployments and its passenger numbers are closing in on those from Europe.

London-listed Global Ports Holding (GPH), through its joint venture, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services (SCCS), has had the term of its concession as operator of Singapore’s Marina Bay Cruise Centre extended to May 2027.

Singapore’s Marina Bay Cruise Centre is expected to benefit from a +7% increase in cruise deployments this year

Marina Bay Cruise Centre is the second-largest cruise port in Asia by passenger numbers and welcomed over 1.7 million passengers to its purpose-built cruise terminal in 2018. The port is a leading homeport in the region – were Chinese tourists have become a key target – thanks to its strategic geographic location and modern infrastructure.

Meanwhile in Vietnam, GPH has also signed a 15-year management service agreement for Ha Long International Cruise Port, the country’s first purpose-built cruise facility with the capacity to handle the world’s largest cruise ships.

The deal signing with Ha Long Sun Limited Liability Company – which Global Ports Holding CEO Emre Sayincalled “a truly historic moment” – gives GPH its first access to the Vietnamese market.

Global Ports Holding CEO Emre Sayin said: “This agreement marks an important inflection point in our growth aspirations in Asia. The GPH team very much look forward to working with our partner, the cruise lines and the people of the Quang Ninh Province to turn this iconic location into a leading cruise port in the region.”

A significant deal for GPH described as “an important inflection point in our growth aspirations in Asia”

The company did not specify any duty free shopping plans at the new location but it has been active in expanding its travel retail footprint elsewhere and also issued a travel retail tender earlier this year.

The port in Ha Long Bay recently had a US$44 million injection. It is situated within the 2.3sq km Sun World Ha Long entertainment and recreation complex and is positioned close to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, giving it potential to become a leading transit port.

Ha Long Bay is less than 200km away from the three air gateways of Noi Bai, Van Don and Cat Bi international airports. While cruise calls to Vietnam are forecast to fall by -25% to 368 this year by Cruise Lines International Association, passengers numbers are set to grow again – from 75,000 in 2019 to more than 100,000 in 2020, according to GPH.

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