Cruise tourism booming in China


It is expected that 126 luxury cruises will come to Shanghai this year, up by 12 percent year-on-year. The number of international cruise passengers arriving in China’s coastal ports will reach 600,000 in 2010, according to the “2008-2009 Development Report of China’s Cruise Industry” issued for the first time in Shanghai on January 12. The development of the cruise tourism industry is predicted to become a new field in China’s economic growth.

A regular pattern in the development of international cruise industry shows that when the per capita GDP of a region or a country reaches 6,000 to 8,000 USD, the region or country already possesses the required conditions to develop its cruise economy. At present, the per capita GDPs of the three municipalities of Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin have all exceeded 6,000 USD, and the per capita GDPs of provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong have reached around 5,000 USD. Considering per capita GDP levels, some regions and cities in China already possess the required conditions to develop cruise tourism.

Zheng Weihang, Vice President of the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association under the China Communications and Transportation Association, said that as traditional cruise markets in Europe and the US are becoming saturated, the international cruise industry is now shifting the priority region of development to Asia, especially to the emerging market of Chinese mainland. Many cruise companies, including the world’s three largest cruise companies Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Star Cruises, are actively carving out development spaces in China.