The Chinese cruise industry has matured from a start-up state to one of rapid development, according to Qian Yongchang, the honorary chairman of the China Cruise and Yacht Association (CCYIA) and president of the China Communications and Transportation Association.

"The cruise industry has stepped into its second decade and transferred from the start-up stage to the rapid development stage," wrote Yongchang in a letter to attendees at the 11th China Cruise Shipping conference and trade show held in Tianjin.

In July 2006 the Costa Allegra sailed her first cruise from China, and this year, the market is expected to generate just over two million Chinese cruise passengers, doubling again well before 2020 with major brands deploying their newest ships to the marketplace.

"Developing the cruise economy has been included in the 13th five-year Economic and Social development (plan) for China," said Yongchang.

The CCYIA thus has been entrusted to draw up new proposals for policies regarding the development of the industry in China, from ports to the supply chain and recruitment.

"Cruise will become a new economic growth point of China's shipping industry and tourism, and it has become a new way to go on holidays that appeals to the masses," Yongchang noted, adding it will be a team effort between government associations, ports, universities and more.