Royal Caribbean Implores Asia to Improve Port Infrastructure

Royal Caribbean is urging Asian countries to improve their port facilities as the cruise line looks to expand in the fairly untapped region. On Friday, Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean, detailed the importance of building up Asia's cruise infrastructure, especially in the face of an already upward battle to introduce cruising to the region's vast population. "We have that battle ahead of us," Goldstein said, citing the difficulty of turning the Asian population onto cruising in lieu of land-based vacations. "Most people here don't understand the value for the money, the different activities--all the experiences that you can have." Asia's port infrastructure has been cited by the cruise industry as an obstacle to expansion. Still, cruise passenger totals are expected to leap by more than 40 percent by 2010. Goldstein says Royal Caribbean will up its presence in the region through public relations campaigns and advertising. He also announced that the company had opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. Rhapsody of the Seas will be deployed in the region in December on 12-night itineraries from Singapore and Hong Kong. Meanwhile also on Friday, Costa Cruise Lines announced a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board aimed at heightening the awareness of cruising in the region through a slew of marketing campaigns and seminars. Costa Allegra will begin cruises from Singapore on November 3 with a 14-night voyage through the Asia Pacific.

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