Airline and cruise executives in the region recount their most exciting new destinations and ports of call this year.
Scene of Yangon, Myanmar
Peter Wiesner, senior vice president-network management
The most exciting new destination is definitely Naypyidaw. As Myanmar opens up, businessmen still have to obtain permits, etc, from the ministries in Naypyidaw. Despite improving road network and more regular Yangon-Naypyidaw flights now, the trip via Yangon involves more time and expensive hotels.
We made a bold guess and launched thrice-weekly services from Bangkok to Naypyidaw on ATR72-500 on September 30. We soon realised that we hit an untapped market; within weeks we had a reasonable seat load factor and we have upgraded the service to five-times weekly flights as of November 18.
Michael Goh, senior vice president (sales)
This year marks an exciting year of inaugural regional deployments for Star Cruises’ fleet. Asian holidaymakers prefer short cruises with multiple stopovers in exotic destinations. These all-time favourite cruise itineraries allow them to see at least two Asian countries in one short cruise. One of them is our SuperStar Libra, which made a 7D6N maiden voyage to Yangon from Penang on August 15, marking Star Cruises’ first return to Yangon in 10 years.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Jennifer Yap, managing director, Singapore
Yangon is an up-and-coming tourist destination that is attracting the interest of a lot of our guests for its rich, exotic cultural and scenic attractions. Overnight voyages will offer (travellers) a more immersive experience and the chance to explore the destination in greater depth, so Azamara Club Cruises will feature Yangon with two overnights as one of the key highlights on a new itinerary featuring additional regional ports of call.
Carp kites flutter in the wind in Japan
Farriek Tawfik, director of South-east Asia
The highlight is the announcement of our expanded Japan cruise programme, which will see our Japan-built Diamond Princess make her maiden call to the Japanese islands of Ishigaki, Amami Oshima and Abashiri in 2014. There is vast potential in the growing Japanese cruise market and we believe there is substantial untapped demand for cruise vacations there.
Sun Huang-Hsiang, chairman
The most exciting developments for us started two to three years ago and we are just keeping up the momentum this year. China and Japan are the most exciting markets for us. Direct services (to China) started from 2009 and we have grown quite rapidly. We are now flying to 28 cities in China, expanding from zero in the period of four years. Before the (open skies agreement with Japan), we had only eight cities and about 95 weekly flights to Japan; now we fly to 12 cities and have 128 flights a week to Japan.
Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Patrick Yeung, CEO
We just launched Siem Reap in October, and earlier in the year we launched Wenzhou, Zhengzhou and Yangon, etc. Each route is exciting because these are all brand-new destinations for us. Last year we also reopened some of the routes we stopped since 2008. We have just announced Penang for 2014.
Wildlife on Galapagos Islands
Melvyn Yap, regional director (Asia)
The most exciting thing this year was the launch of our new ship, Silver Galapagos. Due to their remote location, the Galapagos Islands are home to an abundant variety of unique wildlife – species found nowhere else on earth. With this new ship of ours, you can explore this remarkable destination in a way that is unlike any other.
Illustration of All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner
All Nippon Airways
Osamu Shinobe, president & CEO
In July, we started flying daily flights to San Jose (in California) using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We had a difficult time with the grounding of the 787s but flights to San Jose have resumed. San Jose is the most exciting route because like the Tokyo-Seattle route started last year, these destinations were made possible by the 787s; the 777 is too big and the 767’s range is not long enough. We are able to reinforce our international network with 787s.
We will disclose our next new route – somewhere in Asia – sometime in January 2014 because we have secured new slots at Haneda International Airport.
City of Brisbane, Australia
Emirsyah Satar, president & CEO
The most exciting development for us is using our new turboprops to make sure people visiting Indonesia can go beyond Bali to other areas. As for new routes, we just launched daily flights from Denpasar to Brisbane in August, and we are going to add frequencies and capacity next year. Brisbane is part of our strategy in terms of having more capacity into Australia because we are capturing a very good market in Australia. Down Under, here we come!
Cruising in Antarctica
Mimi Weisband, vice president of public relations
The most interesting new itinerary we introduced this year was the Christmas/New Year cruise in South America, which features three days of cruising in Antarctica. Due to the very understandable restrictions regarding travel to this region, Crystal Cruises had to go to great expense and logistics to make this (itinerary) happen. We had to install special boilers to burn low-sulphur fuel and other special arrangements regarding provisioning. We did all these to offer a most special holiday cruise for our guests.