“Most of my focus has been on developing the contractual agreements for our potential joint ventures in China related to shipbuilding, port development and launching a world-class domestic Chinese cruise brand,” Alan Buckelew, COO for Carnival Corporation, told Cruise Industry News after his first year in Shanghai.
“The process with our partners in China is progressing well, and we hope to finalize agreements within about 12 months from when we originally signed the MOUs (last fall). It’s great news for cruisers in China and for the industry’s overall growth trajectory moving forward.
“As you know, we’ve signed two MOUs in the past year, including agreements with China State Shipbuilding Corporation, Fincantieri and China Merchants Group, all designed to help support China’s goal of becoming one the world’s leading cruise markets.”
Meanwhile, Buckelew said that he is projecting a 58 percent increase in overall capacity for Carnival in China next year with a total of six ships for Costa and Princess.
“We’re adding two ships, one from each brand, which extends our industry-leading presence and scale in China and sets us up for continued growth in the market as demand for cruising continues to accelerate,” he said.
“In a market like China that will serve as a growth engine for the industry and may eventually be the largest cruise market in the world, we are constantly on our toes to make sure we take advantage of all the growth opportunities in this region. You’ll see more exciting news from us soon regarding future plans and 2017 growth opportunities, so stay tuned.”
Buckelew said that there could be more than 4 million annual cruise passengers in China alone in the next five years.
He added that Asia as a whole is a big opportunity for the cruise industry in coming years, with growing interest in Taiwan, Japan and Korea, among other markets.