Ships: Cruise firms bullish

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSI­NESS -

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.

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