Shanghai is going to develop its Wusongkou Cruise Port into the world's third largest in terms of passenger trips and form an industrial chain worth 100 billion yuan ($14.08 billion) in the city's northern Baoshan district, officials said.
Su Ping, the deputy director of Baoshan district, said the Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently approved the establishment of the nation's first cruise tourism development demonstration zone in Baoshan.
"Baoshan has paid close attention in its district development to the cruise industry, and will strive to build an international cruise city home to a cruise industry worth 100 billion yuan," said Su.
The city will work on improving cruise customers' experience, introduce product innovation, and encourage the development of cruise design and construction so it can become an international cruising city.
After a decade of development, China has become the world's second largest cruise market by passenger volume with a total of 2.19 million, accounting for more than half of total Asian cruise passengers, Xinhuanet.com reported. About 63 percent of the Chinese cruise market comes from Shanghai.
"The nation's first duty-free store at a cruise port will open its doors to the public before the China International Import Expo, and Baoshan will continue to optimize the business environment in supporting the creation of a 100-billion yuan cruise industry," Su said.
Baoshan will spend at least 100 million yuan per year in supporting the development of the cruise industry, the official added.
"To date, Baoshan has built a close relationship with market leaders including the China State Shipbuiding Corp Ltd (CSSC) and MSC Cruise of Geneva, Switzerland, to develop the cruise industry," Su said.
Last Friday, CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co Ltd (CCTD) announced it would make the Baoshan district home to its cruise operations.
CCTD Chairman Yang Guobing said the company expects to invest 50 billion yuan over the next decade and operate an extensive fleet in Shanghai by 2030.
"Our target is to create a complete cruise industrial chain together with our partners like Fincantieri and Carnival. In the next decade, a total of 50 billion yuan will be invested to build a Chinese-funded cruise fleet of between eight and 10 cruise ships," Yang noted.
"Baoshan district and CCTD will work together in building and developing a two-square-kilometer international cruise industrial park to make Shanghai an important cruise headquarters with global influence," he added.
The expansion of cruise tourism in Asia, especially in China, has been accompanied by the growth in cruise ship development and building in the country, said Andrew Williams, president of the Maritime Portfolio in Informa Markets.
"The order book for new ship building is at 116 ships worth $67 billion, and Chinese shipyards are becoming more important in building and repairing cruise ships. Three years ago, no such ships were built in China. Now, there are 10 being built and this is expected to grow rapidly," said Williams.
The Wusongkou Cruise Port is currently the world's fourth largest. It has so far received more than 2,000 cruise vessel trips and more than 13 million passenger trips, Yang said.
"Baoshan is the gateway to Shanghai and the wider Chinese region, and it's a very important port for the development of the cruise industry. We look forward to supporting that," Williams stated.