Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Media Announcement of Singapore Tourism's Board (STB) collaboration with Disney Cruise Line

Speech by Minister S Iswaran at the Media Announcement of Singapore Tourism's Board (STB) collaboration with Disney Cruise Line

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,




1. It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome the Disney delegation back to Singapore.  We last met in August 2022, when we had wide ranging discussions on the many initiatives that Disney and Singapore could jointly explore.  Today, I am glad to be sharing this significant moment with the Disney team as we announce the launch of a new collaboration between Disney Cruise Line and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).


2. In 2025, we will begin an exclusive five-year arrangement for Singapore to be the year-round homeport of a Disney cruise ship.  This landmark collaboration marks Disney Cruise Line’s debut in Southeast Asia.  The ship will be the largest in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. It will also be the largest cruise ship that we are welcoming to our shores.  This is a major milestone in the evolution of our cruise industry.


Cruising in Singapore & Southeast Asia


3. In the 2000s, global cruise arrivals were growing at 8% a year, twice as fast as the world’s overall tourist arrivals.  Recognising the potential for our region, we upgraded the Singapore Cruise Centre and built the Marina Bay Cruise Centre to accommodate more and bigger ships.


4. These investments have paid off.  Cruise passenger throughput in Singapore has doubled from about 900,000 in 2012 to more than 1.8 million in 2019, when over 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands called at Singapore.  Collaboration between cruise lines, STB and the Changi Airport Group have also seen an increase in the number of fly-cruise visitors to Singapore.  Based on the 2019 Cruise Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by STB, the cruise industry contributed S$630 million to Singapore’s GDP. This includes S$350 million in direct spend from cruise lines on vessel-related expenses such as repairs, refits, provisioning, bunkering and other port-related services.  In addition, the industry also supported more than 7,000 jobs in Singapore.


5. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore’s cruise industry is recovering well in tandem with global travel.  Last year, a total of 1.2 million passengers passed through Singapore’s ports, which is about two-thirds of pre-COVID levels.  This bodes well for the industry to recover to pre-pandemic levels soon.


Disney Cruise Line – A Major Milestone for Singapore’s Cruise Industry


6. Disney Cruise Line’s decision to homeport in Singapore affirms our position as the region’s premier cruise hub and major player in cruise tourism.  Our strategic location, world-class air connectivity and port infrastructure make us an ideal choice, especially for fly-cruise passengers who arrive in Singapore by air then hop on a cruise.


7. It is also significant that Disney has chosen Singapore to homeport their first cruise ship in Southeast Asia.  It speaks volumes of our region’s significant potential for cruise tourism and to become, as some have described it, the “Caribbean of the East”.  The Southeast Asian archipelago, historically connected by the sea, is home to over 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as dynamic business, lifestyle and cultural hubs.


8. Singapore is a gateway to this diverse region, and we are excited to see our cruise hub grow with this new collaboration.  Disney Cruise Line’s homeporting in Singapore will add to the array of exciting cruise offerings in Singapore; and attract many more local and foreign cruise passengers across the 5-year period.


9. The benefits to our economy will go beyond port and ship-related services, extending to the hotel, lifestyle and other sectors as we attract more visitors to our city, with world-class leisure options that enhance Singapore’s appeal as a vibrant family-friendly destination.


Disney and Singapore – A Perfect Match


10. In this regard, Disney and Singapore are a perfect match, and the arrival of a Disney cruise ship brings our collaboration to the next level.  Our relationship began in 2017, with a multi-year collaboration that saw Singapore host Disney-themed events and activities at local attractions and precincts.  These innovative experiences, at iconic locations like Gardens-by-the-Bay, showcased new ways to blend entertainment with tourism.


11. In 2025, we will team up with Disney to bring new possibilities in cruising. Disney Cruise Line was the pioneer in family cruises and is still the leader in the segment today thanks to its immersive storytelling and signature service.  STB and Disney will join forces to deliver fun and memorable experiences tailored for the regional market.




12. Let me conclude by saying to the Disney team that we are delighted to partner Disney Cruise Line, and eagerly anticipate your inaugural sailing in Southeast Asia in 2025.  We look forward to a long and successful collaboration between Disney and Singapore with many more significant milestones. Thank you.



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