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City sets its sails to become a global cruise hub  Oct 23, 2008

Shanghai will develop itself as a "mother port" for overseas cruise liners and will step up the quality of services for visiting sea travelers, local port chiefs said at a convention yesterday.

The Sea Trade All Asia Cruise Convention brought together representatives of leading cruise lines and facility providers from more than 20 countries and regions. The three-day event is the first global cruise industry convention to be hosted in a Chinese city.

The local government has major plans for Shanghai's ports, especially its cruise tourism.

A new terminal building at Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, on the North Bund, opened for service in August.

National transport authorities estimate that the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad on cruise liners will rise 12.5 percent each year for the next 15 years.

Shanghai and some other ports on the Chinese mainland are expanding their infrastructure to handle cruise tourism.

By the end of this year, Shanghai's ports will have catered to 150,000 cruise travelers, a 50 percent increase over last year.

A survey shows that cruise tourists have contributed significantly to the city's service economy.

Tourists arriving on international passenger liners spent 30 percent more on shopping downtown than normal visitors. Port authorities realize, however, that quality of services and facilities need to be improved. Efforts are being made to increase cooperation between departments related to the cruise industry like shipping and tourism companies and frontier and quarantine inspections.

Industry analysts say there is immense potential to develop the domestic market by encouraging travelers to take cruises out of the country.

City sets its sails to become a global cruise hub
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