Shanghai to develop high-quality international cruise ship tourism in 2023-2025

   August 21, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Shanghai has unveiled a strategic action plan aimed at advancing the development of the international cruise economy within the city from 2023 to 2025. The plan emphasizes leveraging high-level reform and opening-up strategies to capitalize on the current opportunity for the global cruise economy's recovery. This involves innovative policy and system enhancements for the international cruise sector.

The city's objective, as outlined in the plan, is to establish itself as a renowned cruise hub on the global stage by 2035. This entails becoming a significant cruise tourism destination and a regional center for cruise-related economic activities with international resource allocation capabilities.

The action plan encompasses six distinct goals, encompassing the establishment of a central cruise port, the development of a headquarters for cruise operations, and the creation of a manufacturing center for cruises. It also encompasses bolstering independent cruise operations, creating an Asia-Pacific cruise ship supply base, and substantially expanding the scale of the cruise economy.

To realize these aims, the action plan details 20 specific measures spanning five key areas. These encompass fostering the cruise headquarters economy, fortifying the cruise manufacturing system, strengthening port hub functions, enhancing cruise support services, and refining the cruise industry ecosystem.

A significant component of the plan is the cultivation and consolidation of domestic and international cruise company headquarters within the city. This involves enhancing domestic cruise brands, restructuring cruise manufacturing enterprises, and attracting global cruise corporations to establish regional headquarters in Shanghai.

The plan also highlights the need to establish a comprehensive talent system for the cruise sector. This involves nurturing local cruise talent, creating a talent pool that spans the entire industry chain, and facilitating the exchange of high-level expertise within the industry.

Additionally, Shanghai plans to introduce a cruise data statistics and monitoring system, while also refining its policy support structure by instituting a comprehensive cruise industry policy framework and issuing local regulations.

As China's primary national homeport for cruises, Shanghai has consistently held a market share exceeding 50 percent across the country. It uniquely covers the entire spectrum of the cruise industry, spanning research, development, construction, operation, and port services.

Prior to 2019, Shanghai's international cruise economy demonstrated robust and steady growth, with international passenger numbers escalating from 26000 (2006) to 3.78 million (2019/pre-COVID), accounting for 5.6% of the global market. By the end of 2019, the city handled 3000+ cruise ship calls and ~15,3 million tourists, contributing to an overall cruise economy worth 26 billion yuan (US$3,57 billion).

In 2023, Shanghai has actively championed the pilot reinstatement of international ship cruises, with a scheme introduced in March. Subsequently, the economy has witnessed strong momentum, marked by swift recovery and growth.

Post-pilot resumption data indicates the generation of 300+ million yuan in ticket sales revenue, ~100 million yuan in ship supplies consumption, and the stimulation of ~3,5 million yuan in duty-free shop spending at cruise ports. This has also spurred the creation of 4000+ new jobs, with an anticipated addition of ~20,000 new positions by 2024.