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Cruise lovers set for holiday fun on high seas(2)

2023-09-25 09:49:06China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A Viking river cruise ship docks at downtown Cologne, Germany, in June. (Photo/China Daily)

Furthermore, Viking said with the demographic structure changing in China, the senior population is gradually growing. The knowledgeable seniors who value comfort and experience are one of the company's primary target customer groups. Providing them with services that make them feel at home and delivering high-quality cultural and travel experiences are the company's goal, it said.

Still, to further drive the growth of travel demand, supportive policies and products that meet market demand would be critical, Viking said.

For example, "fly cruise" products — a mix of flights and cruises — have been significantly affected by volume and prices of international flights and visa policies of destination countries. For homeport cruising, it requires support from relevant outbound travel policies.

To cater to a growing diversified demand, the local unit of Viking Cruises, Viking Cruises China, which also operates a joint venture with China Merchants Group that holds a controlling stake, recently launched a new eight-day cruise itinerary for consumers in China.

The voyage, which is expected to start on Dec 3, will depart from the port of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and visit Da Nang and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Hong Kong and sail back to Shenzhen. The trip does not require visa and aims to explore Southeast Asia where the weather is warm when it is winter in China, the company said.

In April, US cruise line operator Royal Caribbean International will launch cruise trips from Shanghai to Japanese destinations, such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa on four- to seven-night cruises.

Royal Caribbean said the launch of the new itinerary follows the pilot program for the resumption of international cruise operations initiated by the national transportation authorities and the three-year action plan for the high-quality development of the cruise economy launched by the local government of Shanghai.

"The international cruise industry is the last sector to resume operations in China after the pandemic, with China being the final market to restart international cruises," said Liu Zinan, senior vice-president and chairman of Asia at Royal Caribbean Group.

"Luxury cruise ships serve as captivating landmarks in coastal international metropolises, enhancing people's quality of life, and promoting cultural exchanges between China and other countries," he said.

Liu also said that developing cruise tourism will help bolster Shanghai's position as the Asia-Pacific cruise hub, stimulate demand within related industries, encourage more companies to set up their regional headquarters in the city, generate employment opportunities, boost incomes and carry significant socioeconomic importance.

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