Shanghai’s cruise ship market takes off

Updated: 2016-01-02 03:02

(China Daily USA)

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Shanghai’s cruise ship market takes off

A man takes a photo of a Costa cruise liner in Shanghai. CHEN FEI/CHINA DAILY

Shanghai has surpassed New York to become the world’s eighth busiest homeport for cruise ships in 2014, reported 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

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.