Over the past 30 years, the cruise industry has experienced considerable growth. Concentrated originally in the Caribbean in the 1980s, the concept of cruising has gradually spread to other geographical areas. During the 1990s and 2000s, the cruise market surged in Europe (Mediterranean and North) and by the end of the 2000s, the Asia / Oceania market decisively opened up.

Over the last decade (2005-2015), the overall market has grown by more than 60%. If the Indian Ocean cruise market continues to grow at the same pace as the other more mature markets, growth could reach 8% per year over the next decade. Based on current figures, this would bring the number of cruise passengers to 100,000 in the maritime zone by 2030.

The economic potential of this activity is significant, and can contribute to the growth of the region and each and every island of the Indian Ocean. The region is particularly conducive to this activity, firstly due to its strong tourism potential and secondly, thanks to the diversity of the islands that compose it. Aware of the challenge that the cruise industry represents for the Indian Ocean, APIOI member ports, in collaboration with the Îles Vanilles Association, work towards the support of its development and growth. In this context the cruise action plan was launched in 2017 with two main objectives :

  • To homogenise the accomodation conditions of ships and passengers so as to create a regional standard, while respecting the specificity of each port.
  • To improve the infrastructure in order to optimise the development of the cruise industry.


In november 2019, the PAIOI launched a consultation to carry out a pre-feasibility study to develop the cruise industry in the Indian ocean islands. This study is conducted by Inchcape Shipping Services Mauritius Ltd for a period of 7 months from August 2019. This would allow the standardisation of cruise docking conditions in the ports, according to a standard to be defined as part of a global marketing strategy, as well as the improvement of the conditions for coordinating the safety of the navigation in the southwest basin of the Indian Ocean.