Singapore is hoping to ride the wave of growth in the cruise industry with a new $500 million International Cruise Terminal which broke ground on Friday.
The groundbreaking comes as global demand for the cruise market is estimated to hit 27 million passengers by 2020.
The cruise industry is still doing well despite the economic downturn. Global cruise passengers are expected to number 13.5 million this year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
Asia Pacific currently accounts for 7 per cent of the world’s cruise market and Singapore wants to become a cruise hub.
By 2015, Singapore hopes the new terminal can host the world’s largest Oasis-class cruise ships and attract 1.6 million cruise passengers. The terminal can handle 6,800 passengers at any one time and will double Singapore’s berth capacity.
STB says greater efficiency and accessibility will allow passengers to disembark and depart from the terminal within 30 minutes.
The 28,000-square-metre terminal, equivalent to about three football fields, is one of the biggest in Asia. Reclamation work will start next month and when completed in 2011, it is expected to create 3,000 jobs in the tourism and related industries.
Observers said cruise passengers tend to spend about 30 per cent more on average, which could boost Singapore’s economy.