IAG March 2016 - page 9

Cover Story
first half of 2015. Low costs help fuel gaming cruisemarketing efforts
that resemble those of US regional casinos, including free berths and
other incentives for customerswho’ve stayedaway.
Gaming cruises are a decidedly niche product. “It’s a particular
market segment that will get on board, sail out, punt all night and
into theearlymorninghours, and thenget offaroundnoonandhead
straight into the office. It’s not for the faint hearted!” Global Market
there’snoopportunity to try your luckat adifferent casino, andother
amenities are limited. “Bottom line, the cruise business has never
been felt to be a threat to land based casinos, and even with the
turmoil today, I don’t see that ever changing,” Mr McCamley, who
once worked with gaming cruises, says. For VIPs and other serious
players, cruise ships aren’t on the radar.
But Asia’s high rollermarket has rolled into rough seas. Macau’s
VIP gaming revenue tumbled from US$29.8 billion in 2013 to $16.2
billion last year, a 46% decline over 24 months. Some changes
impacting the mainland premium segment may prove permanent.
South Korea and Singapore also experienced significant drops in VIP
revenue last year. The combination of falling revenue and government
policy directives have ledMacau to refocus on becoming a leisure and
tourism destination, with resorts offering a wide range of non-gaming
activities. Thegoal is to cater toChina’sburgeoningmiddle class.Most
Chinese travelersarenotprimarily looking forgaming,butmanydowant
avacationexperience that includescasinosamongother entertainment
and leisure options. That putsMacau casino operators on a collision
course with the onboard gambling offered by the international cruise
operators that aresteaming full speedahead intoAsia.
Asiahasbecome theworld’s fastestgrowingcruisemarket,withChina
leading the way. Ocean Liner trade group Cruise Line International
our mission to transpose the legendary six-
star service standards of Crystal Cruises and
to customize them to serve the fast growing
Chinese market and all our Asian guests,”
DreamCruises President Thatcher Brown, a
25 year Crystal veteran, said at the brand’s
unveiling in November. Investment bank
CLSA’s Chinese Tourists 2016 report cites
a 70% compound annual growth rate in
China’s cruisepassengers for 2012-14.
InNovember,DreamCruiseswill launch
the specially designed Genting Dream for
3,400 passengers. The new ship will offer
the highest guest space and crew-to-guest
ratios of any ship in the region, according
to the company, andMandarin Chinese as
the primary language for frontline staff.
Genting Dream will follow the routes of
SuperStar Virgo, offering embarkation
from Nansha, Hong Kong and Sanya. A
sister shipWorldDream is due for delivery
inNovember next year.
“The launchofDreamCruisescompletes
the Company’s mission of having a
brand for each of the three major cruise
market segments – Crystal Cruises for the
luxury segment, Dream Cruises for the
premium segment and Star Cruises for the
contemporary segment,”Mr Lim, the sonof
Genting Group founder LimGoh Tong who
got his start in the family businesswithStar,
said at the event. As Asia’s cruise market
moves full speed ahead, Mr Lim hopes to
provehis crew knows thesewaters best.
anaccounting change–Norwegianbecame
an asset rather than an associate – that
caused revaluingof Genting’s shareholding
to the tune of US$1.95 billion. Cruise
revenue for the period rose 2.5% to $265
LastMay,GentingHongKong completed
a US$421.4 million acquisition of Crystal
Cruises and its revenue helped offset lower
gaming income. Crystal runs round-the-world
Star currentlyhas sixvessels in theregion, including two
itmoved tohomeports inChinaduring thepastyear… In
January, Star’s largest cruise linerSuperStarVirgomoved
up the coast fromHongKong toNansha inGuangzhou,where
Starwillhelpdevelopan international cruise terminal as
partofChina’splanofbecomingaglobal cruising center.
cruises with two liners and has three more
shipsonorder, tobedelivered from late2018
on. Meanwhile, Crystal is expanding into
the luxury yacht and river cruise segments
outside Asia, and plans to launch Crystal
Luxury Air, featuring round the world private
jet itineraries spanning two to fourweeks.
Star has poached executives from
Crystal to launchDreamCruises, apremium
product targeting Chinese travelers. “It is
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