Interpretation of cruise industry in a two-sided market context: An exploration on Japan

M. Chen*, Mark G. Lijesen, Peter Nijkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Two-sided markets are characterised by the presence of an intermediary and two groups of end-users. In the cruise market, cruise lines may play the role of intermediaries to connect the two end-users, viz. cruise passengers and cruise ports. Our research explored whether the cruise industry can be regarded as a two-sided market, starting with a theoretical modelling. The findings show that cruise lines might be hybrid intermediaries, selling their own ship-based products and services, while offering also a platform to enable the transaction between cruise passengers and cruise ports. This particular business model of a quasi-two-sided market is also reflected in the pricing scheme of cruise industry, whereby cruise ports charge an entry fee from cruise lines and port dues from cruise passengers. We illustrate an empirical analysis on the basis of the cruise market in Japan, and it provides a preliminary clue that the behaviours of cruise ports and cruise lines are consistent with our theoretical framework. The results are not convincingly significant due to data limitations, hence, the concept of a ‘two-sided market’ in the cruise industry call for further empirical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-801
Number of pages12
JournalMaritime Policy & Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cruise line
  • cruise port
  • hybrid platform
  • port subsidy
  • Quasi-two-sided market

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