China builds 1st large luxury cruise liner

Updated: 2012-07-26 10:09


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Booming industry

"Cruise travel is becoming the new form of tourism favored by Chinese," Zheng Weihang, an official with China Communications and Transportation Association, said on a recent cruise forum held in the northern port city of Tianjin.

According to the association, more than 504,500 people left or arrived at Chinese ports on cruises last year. Meanwhile, more than 142 cruise ships sailed from coastal China to international destinations, up 49.5 percent from a year earlier.

In Tianjin alone, industry observers estimate the number of tourists taking cruises could grow by six or seven times in the coming decade.

"Globally, the cruise industry's market is shifting its focus from the developed world to emerging markets like China," an industry observer said. "More Chinese are getting to know that a cruise ship is more of a floating five-star resort than a transportation tool."

Zheng said there are about 300 cruise ships in service around the globe. Every large cruise ship can take around 2,000 to 6,000 people on board. Their daily consumption is already a huge market for the service industry.

He said that, globally, cruise operators are eyeing direct partnerships with Chinese manufacturers for supply.

Hu Shuren, deputy head of the planning and budget department of National Tourism Administration, said the government is drafting a development plan for cruise tourism, which is considered a focus of the emerging forms of tourism the central government intends to foster in the near future.


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