The first edition of Cruise Shipping Asia closed today with participants -- cruise line representatives and exhibiting companies -- agreeing the event holds great promise for the future of the cruise industry in the Asia-Pacific region, according to UBM, the organizer. The three-day conference and trade show, held at the Marina Bay Expo Centre in Singapore, attracted attendees from across the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of world.

Cruise Shipping Asia 2012 is scheduled for October 17-19, 2012, and will be held in Singapore.

The event included a full conference program of panel discussions, a trade fair, business-matching program and travel agent training sessions.

“We were very pleased with the level of excitement and interaction between the attendees over the three days of conference sessions, trade show activity and social functions,” said Michael Kazakoff, vice president of UBM Live. “As cruise lines commit more and newer tonnage to Asia, growth will accelerate, and Cruise Shipping Asia provided and will continue to provide in the future, an excellent platform for learning, networking and creating business opportunities.”

The tone of the conference and trade show was upbeat. Under the theme of “Gateway to Tomorrow’s Marketplace,” the conference focused on the growth potential of the pan-Asia region and how to accommodate the rapid market expansion predicted for the Asian cruise business.

“There is no doubt that the Asia Pacific region for the cruise industry is a giant that is awakening, it will take time and investment and planning,” said Michael Duck, executive vice president of UBM Asia. “This event has shown that there is a tremendous interest, but one or two companies cannot grow the interest on their own, it needs a platform which CSA provides to all parties to prove to countries, regions, ports and other stakeholders that the infrastructure needs to be in place, and that the market needs educating both in terms of potential customers and the travel industry itself.”

“Asia holds promising opportunities for the cruise industry, and the inaugural Cruise Shipping Asia event gives us all a foothold in shaping what comes next,” commented Michael Bayley, executive vice president, international, Royal Caribbean International. “From port infrastructure development to attracting tourists from around the world, our industry can be instrumental in Asia’s future growth.”

Among the exhibiting tourism organizations were the Japan National Tourist Organization, Korean Tourism Organization, Tourism Malaysia and the Philippine Department of Tourism.