Genting Hong Kong has entered into a strategic cooperation framework agreement with China Merchants Shekou Holdings to jointly develop Tai Zi Bay, Shekou, Shenzhen into an international cruise homeport with the goal to accelerate the growth of the cruise industry in China, according to Genting.
The announcement was made at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony at the China Merchants Hall, Hilton Shenzhen Shekou Nanhai on April 9.
The MoU was signed by Mr. Ang Moo Lim, Executive Vice President, Sales of Genting Hong Kong and President of Star Cruises, and Mr. Xu Yongjun, Managing Director of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Holdings Co., Ltd. Also during the press conference, Genting Hong Kong announced the future homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo at Tai Zi Bay, Shekou from November 2016, marking another milestone in Star Cruises’ illustrious history when it will become the first international cruise line to choose Shenzhen as its homeport.
“A pioneer in the cruise industry in China over 20 years ago, Genting Hong Kong has, over the years, developed Sanya, Haikou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen homeports, not to mention the evergreen homeports of HK and Taipei, making us the cruise company with the longest history and with the most homeports in Greater China,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong.
He added, “Having observed the great potential of Shenzhen, from as early as 2002, we operated cruises to Vietnam from the old Shekou Port.  We are pleased to see the development of Tai Zi Bay and even happier to ink a strategic alliance with China Merchant Group today, to join hands in developing cruise tourism in China.”
Mr. Li Jianhong, Chairman of China Merchants Group has full confidence in the future prospects of the China cruise market: “Asia’s cruise industry is booming and China is expected to become the fastest-growing country in the world as international cruise lines ramp up their operations in response to surging demand from China’s emerging middle class.”
“Already well-known for its business strength in finance, property, logistics and trading, China Merchant Group is poised to enhance its international reputation through developing high-end cruise industry ecosystems through our collaboration with Genting Hong Kong and via expansion in cruise industry construction and operation, including cruise terminal construction and management, fleet development, maintenance and repair. The Tai Zi Bay Cruise Terminal, the only cruise port in China capable of accommodating 220,000-ton cruise liners, which will start service in November this year, will be a very important waterway portal for Shenzhen and will improve the city’s international standing as a modern, world-class metropolis,” he added.
SuperStar Virgo will debut her inaugural homeport in Tai Zi Bay, Shekou, Shenzhen from November 2016, offering a 4-night cruise calling at Halong Bay and Sanya; a 5-night cruise calling at Nha Trang, Da Nang and Sanya as well as a 7-Night cruise calling at Halong Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.