Plan to Attract Asian Travellers: Cruise Ship Passengers Travelling between South East Asia and Western Australia Will Have More Opportunities to Visit Exotic Eco Tourism Destinations under a Plan Proposed by a Leading Cruise Marketing Expert

Article excerpt

In an address to the Fremantle Ports hosted Cruise Down Under conference, Professor Ross Dowling said cruise marketers should recognise rising demand among tourists from Singapore, Malaysia, India and China to experience something different from the traditional cruising experience.

Professor Dowling said opportunities were ripening to operate an expedition ship or series of smaller cruise ships for travel between South East Asia and Australia's western and northern coastline.

He said such services could offer tourists unique experiences such as swimming with whale sharks, visiting remote pastoral stations or seeing an array of marine and land based wildlife in its natural environment.

The gathering of cruise marketers and representatives of tourism authorities, government bodies and ports was told that the Australian cruise market had grown by 35 per cent over the past two years.

Professor Dowling said cruise tourism growth on Australia's east coast would revolve around trips between New Zealand and other South Pacific destinations.

However, the foundation professor of the Tourism School of Marketing at Edith Cowan University, said growth for Western Australia, with its population of around 2 million, would be more closely linked with Asian destinations.

He saw great opportunities for Fremantle to develop as a home port for small to medium sized cruise ships of up to 30,000 tonnes--operating between Asian ports and eco tourism destinations on the west coast.

Professor Dowling, who is widely published on cruise marketing and has lectured on cruise ships and at the Asian Education College in Singapore, said Australia's western and northern coastlines offered unique experiences.

His research indicated that many people would be keen to visit some of the more out of the way destinations if a combination of fly--cruise options between South East Asian ports and west coast cruise destinations were offered.

Professor Dowling said smaller sized cruise ships had the advantage of being able to access destinations, such as Shark Bay and Exmouth, that were not set up for large ships.

"The WA coastline is also serviced by a lot of well developed regional ports such as Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton and Broome which provide gateways to some amazing natural destinations," Professor Dowling.

"So, a variety of ships can be serviced."

Professor Dowling urged cruise marketers to cooperate with shore destinations to ensure Asian travellers, who were increasingly interested in eco tourism, were offered a unique experience.

"I know of many people who would relish the opportunity to visit a working sheep station," he said.

"It's just a matter of setting things up in the right way."

Professor Dowling said cruise marketers could target India and China which were likely to represent strong sources of tourists in the future. …