The number of Chinese taking cruises has skyrocketed in recent years. That number has shot up to 1.4 million last year from only 10,000 Chinese who vacationed on cruise liners in 2005, according to data from the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
China is expected to become the Asia-Pacific region’s largest cruise market by 2020 with an estimated 4.5 million cruise travelers in China by the end of the decade, representing 33 percent annual growth from 2013, according to the Ministry of Transport.
With such strong growth, more companies are getting into the action and creating their own cruise operations.
Bohai Ferry Co Ltd, a company based in Shandong province just joined the growing industry in February by adding cruise liners to their operations.
Bohai Ferry plans for its first liner, the Zhonghua Taishan, to travel between South Korea, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries. The 24,000 gross tonnage, $43.68 million ship was just bought from Italy’s Costa Cruises and is scheduled to be delivered to China come May.
Along with it’s new line of cruise ships, Bohai Ferry also developed a travel agency in 2013 to attract more vacationers to the growing business. General Manager Yu Xinjian tells China Daily that this is just the beginning for the company as they are looking to greatly expand their operations. Ultimately, Xinjian says that the company hopes to purchase or build their own five-star liners and lead China’s luxury cruise industry.
Other cruise operators, such as the HNA Tourism Holding Group Co Ltd, have also seen huge increases in cruise vacation purchases. The group reports that they have seen their passenger haul increase from 60 percent in 2013 to 75 percent this winter.
At present, Chinese companies certainly seem ready to embrace this new trend in luxury vacationing. Vice-Chairman Zheng Weihang, of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, says, “Traveler numbers soared these years and Chinese enterprises rushed into the business.”
image credit: jordon cooper