Ships: Cruise firms bullish
Additionally, other global cruise operators will boost their services in the Chinese market, with more lines to be opened soon.
According to Guangzhoubased Nanfang Daily, Costa Cruises will add three new cruises in its Shanghai homeports by 2020. It launched a vessel service in the city in April. Royal Caribbean International will also introduce a homeport service in June in China.
Michael Thamm, chief executive officer of Costa Cruises, said China would likely overtake the US to become the world’s largest cruise market within the next decade.
According to Thamm, business revenues of Costa Cruises increased 40-50 percent yearon-year on average in China since launching its Chinese operations in 2006.
“We will continue to invest in China, aiming to get quickly integrated into the Chinese market,” said Thamm, adding the company is talking with relevant Chinese authorities to establish joint ventures in the fast-growing market.
“We will introduce the largest fleet in China in the near future,” he said.
China’s cruise industry, which began services only after 2005, is mostly dominated by foreign operators, which provide more than 90 percent of products in the Chinese market, according to the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
“Foreign operators need to further understand Chinese travelers’ needs and offer tailored services,” said Zheng Weighing, deputy director of the association.
The Chinese cruise market has gathered pace over the past few years, with more high-end services being offered, according to Zheng.