‘During the last few years we have witnessed rapid development of China’s cruise market with big ships calling at our ports,’ Wang said at the opening speech of the Seatrade Asia Pacific Cruise Congress held in Shanghai Baoshan on Wednesday.
Wang pointed out that Wusongkou cruise terminal, for example, received more than 1,000 ships with over 6m passengers over the past five-year period.
And for the next five years, Wang shared some ambitious figures for Wusongkou terminal to achieve, including reaching 800 to 1,000 port calls and 5m to 6m passengers annually from 20 to 30 homeporting vessels. Next year the terminal is expecting 600 calls.
She added that Wusongkou hopes to become one of the top three cruise ports in the world. ‘We want to be the “Miami” of Asia,’ she remarked.
But Wang cautioned that China’s cruise sector is in need of improvement on several fronts before it can register those lofty figures. The areas to focus and improve on include bolstering of local sourcing, streamlining of customs clearance, focus on customer service, and incorporating Chinese culture into the vessel design and enhancing the embarking and disembarking landside experience.
She further pointed out that it is also important for China to be seen and to participate at various international cruise conferences so as to gather insights to better strategise its global reach.
‘The cruise business is an important economic growth strategy for China. We expect China to lead the global cruise market after another 10 years of development,’ Wang said.
From a global cruise passenger market share of just 0.5% in 2006, China’s cruise sector has expanded over 10 years to account for 9.6% of market share in 2016.
In 2015, about 986,000 Chinese passengers went on cruise tours, a 40% jump from roughly 703,000 in 2015, according to figures from Cruise Lines International Association’s 2016 Asia Cruise Trends study.