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Cruises and Sailing

 April 12, 2001
Hong Kong's Cruise Business Swells By 51.6% In 2000

 Hong Kong has seen more than 35 international cruise vessels enter its port over the past year, with cruise lines planning to visit in 2001 reading like a whoís who of the cruising industry.

With its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, a living fusion of East and West and 6,000 years of Chinese tradition, Hong Kong is a "must-see" destination for world cruise aficionados. The City of Life, with its stunning vistas of Victoria Harbour from every cabin window, will feature on the itineraries of eight new cruise ships making maiden calls to Hong Kong, including Aurora, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Spirit of Oceanus, Norwegian Wind, Silver Shadow, Renaissance 1 and Renaissance 8.

Total passenger throughput for 2000 - including Hong Kong residents - was more than two million, a 51.6% increase over 1999. The number of cruise passengers from overseas grew by 52%, with the strongest growth reported from Australia and New Zealand (+ 97.3%) and South and Southeast Asia (+93.9%). Other regions such as North Asia and The Americas also reported good growth as these mature markets increasingly look to Hong Kong to provide exciting itineraries and new ports of call.

Well-supported by air links and ground transportation, Hong Kong is quickly getting a name for itself as the regionís fly/cruise hub, with more than 90% of overseas cruise arrivals and departures boarding and disembarking here. Its excellent geographic location also offers cruise lines the opportunities to explore hitherto untried itineraries to destinations that are now just becoming popular, such as Vietnam and southern China.

SuperStar Leo, operated by Star Cruises, has been using Hong Kong as its home base since September 1999, which has created greater local demand for cruise holidays. Major international cruise lines such as Seabourn, Cunard and Radisson currently operate cruises to Hong Kong on an annual basis.

To tap the increasing interest and potential of Hong Kong in the cruise travel sector, the Hong Kong Tourism Board last year appointed a cruise representative in the United States. Based in Miami, Mr Christopher Perks markets and promotes Hong Kong to international cruise operators with a view to further expansion of this travel sector.

At present Hong Kong has one cruise terminal located at Ocean Terminal, in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Ocean Terminal currently provides two berths that can accommodate up to four modern ocean liners of between 500ft and 600ft.

The terminal is part of Harbour City, which is Hong Kong's largest office complex and shopping mall, featuring three hotels, 700 retail shops, food and beverage outlets and cinemas. It is located right in the city centre within close proximity to some 25 hotels, with more than 12,000 rooms and major tourist attractions are all within walking distance.