The ports of Sanya and Haikou on tropical Hainan island will soon be ready to serve Chinese-funded cruises to nowhere, with flags of convenience, amid the growing trend of cruises for leisure.
While traditional cruise routes link land destinations, cruises to nowhere trace a unique itinerary without any specific destination at sea to allow passengers to experience a short－usually one or two nights－romantic, exciting and not always inexpensive cruise vacation on a floating resort at sea, experts said.
The Ministry of Transport said on its website that Hainan's Sanya and Haikou cruise ports have received approval to begin on pilot basis Chinese-funded cruises to nowhere, with flags of convenience.
Flag of convenience cruises refer to those registered in an "open registration country", with low cost and tax, and flying the flag of that country.
The ministry encourages Chinese cruise enterprises to design a variety of nowhere cruises to accommodate various tastes and needs, such as watching sunrises at sea, sea diving and fishing, corporate leisure business trips and private gatherings. But lewd and gambling activities will be strictly forbidden.
The ministry said the pilot program aims to help Chinese residents cultivate cruise leisure consumption concepts, promote the construction of the Sanya cruise home port, and support the development of Hainan International Tourism Consumption Center, one of the four strategic goals set for the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the largest in the country.
The Chinese-funded cruise operators should be legal representatives of domestic cruise transport businesses that own no less than 51 percent of the international cruise transport business, according to the ministry.
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