China is expected to become world's largest cruise market over the next 20 years, due to moves designed to strengthen marine-based tourism by the travel industry and public sector of the country.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that by 2025, the amount of Chinese cruise passengers is expected to grow to 8-10 million, in comparison with about 2.5 million in 2017.
Measures are currently being taken to modernise ports for domestic-built vessels, develop multi-modal transport mechanisms, purchase ocean liners, approve longer visa-free visits to certain China's mainland areas near major ports.
Shanghai intends to build an integrated complex with duty-free shops comparable to the ones found at its international airport. Efforts are now underway to introduce links between airlines, trains, buses and cruises.
The southernmost island province of Hainan has started a pilot run of 15-day visa-free policy for tourist groups entering the country by sea. At the corporate level, world's largest leisure travel company Carnival Corporation, announced a joint venture with CSSC (China State Shipbuilding Corp) in November.
The new company is named CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping and starts operations with its own fleet in 2019-Q4. The joint venture will buy two of existing ships from Costa Group (Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea) and will order 2 newbuilds to become the first domestic-built large cruise fleet in China.
However, the cruise industry in the country faces a hiring challenge in the face of increasing demand. By 2020, the gap in the sector will reach around 280,000, according to CLIA.