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Cruise industry headed for decade of growth in China

03/01/2016| 11:23:17 PM|

China's 10 cruise ports received a total of 539 homeporting cruise calls, representing year-on-year growth of 47% in 2015.

The total number of Chinese homeport cruise ship travelers reached 2.22 million passenger trips in 2015, and China's cruise industry is set to grow faster in the next decade, a report said.

Throughout 2015, China's 10 cruise ports received a total of 539 homeporting cruise calls, representing year-on-year growth of 47 percent, according to the 2015 China Cruise Industry Development Report published on Monday.

The annual report, also known as the white paper of China's cruise industry, has been issued since 2009, and is jointly published by the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association, Hongkou District People's Government of Shanghai, as well as Shanghai International Shipping Institute.

According to the report, total cruise ship passenger trips in China soared 44 percent from the previous year to 2.48 million in 2015, and the number of homeport passenger trips surged 50 percent to 2.22 million during the same period.

In the past 10 years, China's cruise industry has developed significantly in policymaking, port construction, and the introduction of cruise ships, cruise trips and services. The report forecast China's cruise sector will enter a fast-developing period.

Shanghai is the most important homeport for cruise ships in China, which handled 320 homeport cruise calls and nearly 1.6 million homeport passenger trips in 2015.

"Although the 2015 data are still being collected, Shanghai's ranking among the top 10 global homeports is likely to jump to sixth from last year's eighth position," said Cheng Juehao, from Shanghai Maritime University.

The growing capacity of China's cruise market has also driven global cruise companies to invest more in China, according to Cheng.

Princess Cruises, the third largest cruise line in the world and part of Carnival Corporation & Plc, announced on Thursday the expansion of its presence in China by launching a new homeport in Xiamen, Fujian province, this year, and debuting the cruise ship Majestic Princess that is specially tailored for the China market in 2017, with its homeport in Shanghai.

The 143,000-ton vessel, which can accommodate 3,600 passengers, is full of elements tailored for Chinese customers, including staff who can speak Chinese and Chinese-style cuisine, according to Cherry Wang, vice-president and general manager of Carnival China.

A lot of market research has been done to better understand Chinese clients, so that the products can be better received, according to Anthony Kaufman, executive vice-president of international operations at Princess Cruises.

"There may some market fluctuations in the short term, but Princess Cruises is always positive about China's cruise market," said Wang.

Wang said the bright future of the cruise industry in China is guaranteed, and with the growth of the market, other brands and products will follow.

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