Unique panel sessions will shed light on the Asia-Pacific market. The China Cruise Shipping and Cruise International Expo (CCS), the most influential international cruise conference in China and the Asia-Pacific, is returning for a ninth edition in Tianjin, October 15-17 (CCS9).

CCS is hosted by the China Communications and Transportation Association (CCTA) and organized by the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA).

Since 2006, CCS has been held in various cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Sanya, Shenzhen (Hong Kong), and Tianjin.

The annual show has four pillars and most importantly, first, it aims to accelerate China’s cruise industry policies.

Second, it’s to strengthen dialogue and collaboration between various related government bodies and cruise lines. Third, it hopes to nurture and usher in the era of cruise tourism domestically. Finally, it hopes to attract more international ships to Chinese ports while bringing China’s vast cruise tourism attractions to the world. Concurrently held with the conference each year is an expo with four key exhibition zones: cruise lines, suppliers, destinations, and cruise equipment and services.

This year’s theme is the “Cruise Economy and Regional Development” and will focus on strengthening regional partnerships and creating attractive cruise tourism destinations.

“With the utmost support from the central government, a key aim of CCS9 is to create discussion platforms between the government and cruise companies as well as between regional governments of cruise tourism markets,” said Weihang Zheng, vice president and secretary (the de-facto CEO), CCYIA.

Over 3,000 participants are expected to attend this year’s conference. Guests range from cruise line CEOs to tourism representatives and various industry professionals and suppliers.

“In addition to China’s new cruise related policies and announcements, the roundtable dialogue between the government and corporations is usually the most lively and vibrant. The government attendees will include bureau heads who will ultimately formulate and implement the policies,” Zheng said.

 “Asia is the fastest growing cruise market globally, and China is the fastest growing cruise market in Asia,” continued Zheng. “However, we believe that growing the market for China itself is not optimal. We hope that China and the Asia-Pacific region can grow together.”

From 2006 to 2012, cruise arrivals at Chinese ports jumped from 115 to 285, and homeport operations went from 25 turnarounds to 170, while outbound passengers leapt from 160,000 to 660,000 – accounting for Chinese nationals at 560,000, growing from just 10,000 guests in 2006.

This year’s show will include specific cruise market forums covering key Asian regions and markets.

A new highlight for 2014 is the Golden Waterway Forum focusing on the Yangzte River. The central government recently announced that it plans to put forth a comprehensive development plan for the Yangzte.

The host city, Tianjin, being the largest cruise port in northern China and the port of call for Beijing, is expected to announce news on its cruise port conversion project (phase two) at the event.

Together with Shanghai, Xiamen and Sanya, these four key cruise ports in China account for around 90 percent of the Chinese cruise market. 2013 was a record year for Tianjin, with 70 visits of which 55 were turnarounds. Ninety-six calls are expected this year for a rise to 300,000 passengers.

Built only in 2010, the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port is already at capacity.

Since late 2013, the city has been working around-the-clock on its phase two development for the cruise port.

The cruise terminal will now be able to handle both cargo and passenger and the revamp includes two new berths capable of handling Oasis-class ships.

Tianjin is the largest comprehensive port in northern China and the largest artificial port in the world. The cruise terminal is part of a larger Dongjiang Bay development with an emphasis on the establishment of eight areas, including a finance and trade area, shipping and logistics, and a cruise and tourism area.

The ninth edition of the China Cruise Shipping and Cruise International Expo is the Asia/Pacific's No. 1 cruise event, learn more at www.ccyia.com/en. The show runs from Oct. 14-17 in Tianjin, China.