BEIJING -- A national plan to establish "cruise tourism
towns" in support of China's fledgling cruise industry will be released
Tourism is highly regulated and centrally planned in China,
and China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) deputy director Li Shihong
called the plan "a must" for healthy development of the sector.
Although cruising in China is still relatively modest in
scale compared with activity in the U.S. and Europe, global cruise companies
believe it will develop into the world's largest market. Carnival Corp., Royal
Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Norwegian Cruise Holdings and MSC Cruises all have
ships sailing from Chinese ports, with plans to expand their presence.
Cruise growth in China has been somewhat hampered by the
lack of variety in ports of call. Increasing the number of ports, and
activities within existing ports, has become a priority for the government and
A detailed plan, developed by the quasi-government China
Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA), will be unveiled next month in
Sanya at CCS12, its annual China Cruise Shipping Conference International &
CCYIA secretary general and executive vice president Zheng
Weihang said the organization has been working on the plan for more than a
year, and called the concept of cruise tourism towns "a step forward for
the industry that will bring new business opportunities."
The establishment of cruise tourism cities is the latest
step in the government's efforts to promote cruising. CNTA first recognized
cruising as an official travel industry activity in 2008, issued port service
standards in 2011 and established six "cruise tourism development pilot
areas" in 2014.