Shang­hai’s cruise ship mar­ket takes off

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

Shang­hai has sur­passed New York to be­come the world’s eighth busiest home­port for cruise ships in 2014, re­ported east­day.com. A to­tal of 240 cruise trips de­parted Shang­hai in 2014, mark­ing a 42.9 per­cent year-on-year growth.

China’s cruise home­ports are cur­rently in Shang­hai, Tian­jin, Qing­dao of Shan­dong prov­ince, Xi­a­men of Fu­jian prov­ince and Zhoushan of Zhe­jiang prov­ince. Cruise trips from Shang­hai ac­count for more than 60 per­cent of all trips in China, based on sta­tis­tics by on­line travel agency Ctrip.com.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by Cruise Line In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion, the num­ber of Chi­nese cruise ship trav­el­ers in­creased at an an­nual rate of 79 per­cent be­tween 2012 and 2014, while a to­tal of 697,000 trips were made by tourists from the Chi­nese main­land in 2014, al­most equiv­a­lent to the to­tal amount from the rest of the Asian re­gion (701,000).

In a bid to pro­mote cruise travel among Chi­nese cus­tomers, cruise com­pany Costa launched an around-the-world pack­age in early 2015 which took guests on a tour to five con­ti­nents and 28 des­ti­na­tions in 18 coun­tries. The 86-day jour­ney started and ended in Shang­hai and its first batch of cus­tomers com­prised about 1,000 Chi­nese tourists. The pas­sen­gers on­board ranged from an 88-year-old se­nior cit­i­zen to a one-year-old baby, and they spent nearly a month in the United States dur­ing their jour­neys.

To tap onto the ris­ing en­thu­si­asm for cruise travel among Chi­nese tourists, prepa­ra­tions are al­ready un­der­way for China’s first lux­ury cruise liner. Con­struc­tion work for the ves­sel, which will be han­dled by Waigao­qiao Ship­build­ing, is ex­pected to start in 2017 and should be ready for de­liv­ery by 2020, said Chen Jun, vice-pres­i­dent of Waigao­qiao Ship­build­ing Co Ltd.

“As many as 4.5 mil­lion Chi­nese pas­sen­gers will go on cruise trips by 2020, and that fig­ure will rise to 17.5 mil­lion by 2030. It is es­ti­mated that there will be an an­nual de­mand of five new cruise ships in the next 15 to 20 years in China alone,” he said.

CHEN FEI FOR CHINA DAILY

A man takes a photo of a Costa cruise liner in Shang­hai.

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