Dalian lines up with other cities to boost evolv­ing cruise ship sec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian zhangx­i­aomin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Of­fi­cials from Dalian, in north­east­ern Liaon­ing prov­ince, said their city has been tapped as one of six key cities cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in a spe­cial zone — called the Cruise Tourism De­vel­op­ment Pi­lot Area — that aims to boost China’s rapid­lye­volv­ing cruise liner in­dus­try.

The first cruise zone, to boost the cruise tourism in­dus­try, was ap­proved to be set up in Shang­hai by the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion in Septem­ber 2012. Shang­hai tourist au­thor­i­ties ap­proved tax re­funds for overseas tourists on pur­chases in des­ig­nated shops, and opened duty-free shops at the ar­rival ar­eas of the city’s cruise ter­mi­nals.

Liu Wei, gen­eral man­ager of the Dalian Port In­ter­na­tional Cruise Liner Cen­ter, said de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture in the city had pro­gressed well since the Dalian Port Group be­gan con­struc­tion of a cruise liner cen­ter in 2015.

“Cur­rently two 150,000-met­ric­ton berths are un­der con­struc­tion and these are ex­pected to be com­pleted in 2019,” she said.

Dur­ing a re­cent tourism in­dus­try con­fer­ence in Xi’an, cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince, the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued mem­ber­ship plaques for the cruise pi­lot area to the cities of Shang­hai, Tian­jin, Shen­zhen, Qing­dao, Fuzhou and Dalian.

China’s cruise ship sec­tor has been de­vel­op­ing rapidly in the past decade and in 2015 it be­came the world’s fourth big­gest cruise mar­ket. An­a­lysts say in­ter­na­tional cruise ship gi­ants are work­ing hard to en­ter the Chinese mar­ket.

Sta­tis­tics from the World Tourism Cities Fed­er­a­tion show that Chinese ports ac­cepted 955 vis­it­ing cruise ships in 2016, car­ry­ing more than 4.39 mil­lion pas­sen­gers.

“This year, Dalian is ex­pected to ac­cept 33 cruise ships and more than 60,000 pas­sen­gers,” said Li Jing­ping, head of the Dalian Tourism De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee.

Ac­cord­ing to Li, Dalian was China’s first port to ac­cept cruise ships. In 1976, a lux­ury liner from Ja­pan vis­ited. Since then the port has ac­cepted hun­dreds of cruise ships.

With its beau­ti­ful natural scenery fea­tur­ing moun­tains and sea, Dalian is a well-known tourism city in China.

In 2016, the city ac­com­mo­dated more than 1 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists and over 76 mil­lion do­mes­tic tourists.

Li said that with north­east­ern China as the hin­ter­land, the city pro­vided a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion to reach Ja­pan, South Korea, and Rus­sia. He said Dalian’s cruise sec­tor was ex­pected to ex­pand in the com­ing five years.

Zhang Tie, gen­eral man­ager of Dalian Port Group’s pas­sen­ger trans­port com­pany, said the port had a suit­able ter­mi­nal to han­dle large-sized in­ter­na­tional cruise lin­ers, with good wa­ter qual­ity and com­plete fa­cil­i­ties.

The port has es­tab­lished trade re­la­tion­ships with more than 300 ports in over 160 coun­tries and re­gions around the world.

In July last year, Royal Caribbean In­ter­na­tional’s Leg­end of the Seas cruise liner, car­ry­ing about 2,000 tourists, left Dalian for Sasebo and Kagoshima in Ja­pan. It un­der­scored that Dalian has be­come a port of de­par­ture for in­ter­na­tional cruise lin­ers.

“The city’s cruise sec­tor has great po­ten­tial and is en­joy­ing rapid de­vel­op­ment. This year, some 50 cruise lin­ers are ex­pected to de­part from Dalian,” Zhang added.

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