“China should and will be a member of the international cruise family,” said Qian Yongchang, the chairman of the China Communications & Transportation Association, and one of the higher-profile government speakers at the China Cruise Shipping Expo organized by the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association in Tianjin.

And the Chinese government is getting behind things, as early this year the Vice Premier Wang Yang noted that the cruise industry should be developed in China. That has led to research, committees and direct efforts in everything from policy-making to shipbuilding.

“It is necessary to get China positively involved in reshaping the landscape of the global cruise market, formulating global cruise policies and rules of the game, and having a Chinese voice heard,” he stated.

Yongchang said five major cruise centers are operating in China, and four of them will soon start so-called phase II construction projects. Meanwhile, some six more ports are in the pipeline to be built.

“Back in 2005 only a few thousand Chinese took cruises for an outbound trip and now we are delighted to report that the figure has bumped to 570,000 in 2013,” noted Yongchang.