The Hong Kong Tourism Board is seeing a strong comeback with international cruise ships berthing and homeporting in the city. Since the beginning of 2023, Hong Kong has resecured the advantages that make it appealing for international cruise lines, including the restart of non-stop air from the US, signifying a full resumption of Hong Kong’s cruise scene and recognition as Asia’s cruise hub. Visitor arrivals in the first quarter of 2023 achieved about 30% of the average quarterly figure before the pandemic, according to the latest figures announced by Hong Kong Tourism Board.
“For the restart of the 2023 cruise season, Hong Kong secured over 160 ship calls from 16 globally recognized cruise lines. This recovery signifies tremendous confidence in the destination by the cruise industry and their guests seeking a return to a favorite destination they can enjoy by land and sea,” said Hong Kong Tourism Board’s MICE & Cruise General Manager, Kenneth Wong.
Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit sparked the start of the cruise season in Asia as the first international cruise line to return to Hong Kong in almost three years. “Hong Kong constitutes one of the most important ports in Asia for Silversea Cruises and our discerning guests, who appreciate the enriching experiences, the welcoming people, and the spectacular cityscape that awaits them on each call to the destination,” said Adam Radwanski, Silversea’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific.
The visits and deployments from Silversea Cruises, TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and the year-round homeporting of Resorts World Cruises highlight the city’s potential for accommodating a variety of cruise products, as well as the flight network’s availability for development of fly-cruise turnaround itineraries for short-haul and long-haul markets.
International airlines are driving visitors to Hong Kong with service resumption, including United Airlines’ nonstop service to and from Hong Kong, joining Cathay Pacific as the dominant air carriers from the U.S.
To accommodate the vast growth in aviation, the Hong Kong International Airport is implementing an expansion plan for the three-runway system which when the project is completed, will be able to handle 30 million more passengers a year by 2030.
Hong Kong has been a standout setting for cruise lines to develop new products and entice new clientele from the enormous Mainland market of 86 million people who zip in from cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area via High Speed Rail and the iconic Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest sea crossing in the world.
According to Wong, “Hong Kong is an amazing setting for cruise guests to fully explore the region during pre and post cruise stays.” New developments that await cruise passengers include the new Hong Kong Palace Museum in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, with a collection of more than 900 priceless treasures from the Palace Museum in Beijing, and M+, Asia’s first truly global museum of contemporary visual culture. The iconic Peak Tram with panoramic views from Victoria Peak has been given a makeover, with new sixth-generation tram cars and a renovated terminal with full-immersion video experience.
Text: PM Hong Kong Tourism Board