China has become the focus of the cruise industry as more mainland Chinese acquire a taste for travel and shopping on the high seas.
Chinese cruise travelers are projected to reach 4.5 million by 2020, tripling the 2013 number, according to China’s Ministry of Transport.
Carnival Corporation, the industry’s largest player with 10 brands and more than 100 ships, hopes to capture a leadership in the China market. The company has deployed the Costa Serena to China, making it the fourth ship to call Shanghai its home port.
China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA) noted that “115 cruise ships came to Chinese ports in 2006 but by 2012 that figure had more than doubled to 285. The number of cruise voyages departing from Chinese ports also increased from 25 to 170 with some 1.4m trips on cruise ships taken last year,” reports Travel Retail Business.
China is expected to be the world’s second-largest cruise market (after the US) by 2017, with growth rates far higher than in North America and Europe, the two regions where the industry has historically collected most of its profits.
However, the cruise industry faces several challenges in China. The biggest challenge is education as the vast majority of Chinese still have no concept of cruising.
image credit: mauro mazzio