Key to Chinese market development will not only be learning about new Chinese passengers, but offering them new itineraries so they come back and cruise again, according to Anthony Kaufman, senior vice president of Asia operations for Princess Cruises.
“The cruise market in China is very new so we don’t yet understand the patterns of the passengers,” he said, speaking at a roundtable between Chinese government officials and the cruise lines at the China Cruise Shipping Expo this week in Tianjin.
“Itinerary diversification in a new market is very important,” he added, “as are new ships.”
And a new vacation product in China in the form of a cruise will take time to mature, meaning it may take years for Chinese passengers to think of the ship as the destination.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to develop more ports to diversify itineraries,” Kaufman continued.
While cruise lengths remain short out of China, less than a week compared to Princess’ nine-day average across the brand, Kaufman said they had arranged one 10-day charter at the end of this season.
“Here, the travel agent relationships are deeper,” he explained. “We have to work closely with the agents to develop itineraries they can sell to customers.”