China's cruise market declined for the first since 2006 last year as the country's 13 cruise ports welcomed 18% fewer liners and a waning number of tourists.
Some 969 cruise ships docked at Chinese ports last year, Beijing Business Today reported citing data from the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association and the China Ports and Harbors Association's cruise and yacht terminal division. The number of inbound and outbound travelers fell almost 1% to 4.9 million.
The sector has been struggling since the second half of 2017, one insider said, adding that most cruise ship travelers are middle-aged or elderly people who are thriftier and spend less than younger tourists.
China is hopeful that the slump will soon come to a halt. Its Ministry of Transport, alongside 10 other government agencies, announced in September that the country plans to make China one of the world's most dynamic cruise markets by 2035, when it expects to be boasting 14 million cruise passengers a year and have built its own large cruise ship.
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