Taiwan, Philippines and South Korea form the Asia Archipelago Cruise Alliance

   February 20, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

A letter of intent was signed on Friday, February 17th, by Taiwan, Philippines and South Korea in order to form the Asia Archipelago Cruise Alliance, aiming to develop Asia's cruise tourism.

The LoI was signed in Taipei (accessed from Port Keelung) by the Maritime & Port Bureau, the Korea International Cruise Research Institute, the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority, and the Association for Cruises Development of Taiwan, with the aim of attracting international cruise companies to the region.

Addressing the ceremony, Maritime and Port Bureau Director-General Yeh Hsieh-lung stated that countries in East Asia had rich and diverse resources to develop cruise tourism, so Taiwan hoped to join forces with its neighbors to push for island-hopping activities in Asian destinations.

2+ years ago, the bureau helped ~1200 passengers on the ship Explorer Dream (now Resorts World One) visit Taiwan’s islands Penghu and Matsu after departing from Keelung, Yeh shared, adding that it was the first cruise to take place in Asia after suspensions due to COVID.

Japan had not yet joined the alliance, but Tokyo was looking into the possibility, he said.

The Asia Archipelago Cruise Alliance was scheduled to formally start operations at the end of 2023, and the organization would integrate cruise tourism marketing/other resources among member countries to promote its strength and attract international cruise companies.

The government hopes island-hopping trips will become a driver for the cruise tourism market of the country, Yeh said.

According to Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong, the government had designated 2023 for a renaissance of the local tourism industry and set a goal of attracting 6M foreign tourists to Japan.

Chi said cruise tourism would be a crucial part of the efforts of the country to meet that goal, by using island-hopping activities to penetrate the international market, adding that it was determined to work with Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines to expand cruise tourism.

Taiwan looks forward to the calls of upscale expedition cruise ships, which usually only carry 100-500 passengers, and plans special itineraries for guests to experience the cultures in Penghu (Magong), Kinmen, Matsu, Green Island, and Orchid Island, the section head of the bureau Lai Ping-Jung said.

Amid optimism about the cruise market of the nation, several cruise ship operators, including France-based Ponant and Costa Cruises, Italy, are scheduled to stop in Taiwan/use the country as a homeport starting in March.

Ponant will offer one trip per year with a cruise ship scheduled to operate to Osaka (Kobe) from Keelung (Taipei) on March 24th. 

Costa Cruises will return to Taiwan in June and offers 30 sailings this year, each one lasting 3-7 days.