Located in the southeast part of the Shandong province and bordering the Yellow Sea, Qingdao has historically been eyed by foreign nations as a treasure due to its strategic location. It was taken by Germans in 1800s and hence has European-style architecture.
Blessed with coastlines and undulating hills, Qingdao is one of China’s most livable cities. And Qingdao has a temperate monsoon climate with humid air and temperatures. Qingdao is known as China’s “capital of sailing” and hosted the sailing events of the recent Beijing Olympics.
With its advantageous location by the sea, Qingdao naturally became the main cruise port in the Shandong province. Its new Qingdao International Cruise Port at Little Bay was the first homeport for SkySea’s startup venture with the Golden Era ship this past May.
According to sources, Qingdao gave the cruise line an attractive deal to homeport for the summer.
The $800 million port will have three berths with a total length of 1000 meters. The port is designed to handle up to 1.5 million passengers annually.
The port is particularly proud of its customs clearance efficiency with the fastest customs clearance record reaching 3,000 to 4,000 passengers per hour.
According to a spokesperson: “The Qingdao Entry and Exit Bureau developed its own disembarkation system simulation network to increase efficiency by 50, hence enabling them to realize zero wait time for passengers to clear customs. Most cruises can expect to reduce customs clearance time by half compared to other ports.”
The port is part of a bigger project by Huarun Group and the China Merchant Group for development, including tourism, finance, trade, logistics and entertainment. It’s an ambitious plan to position Qingdao as China’s northern cruise center and a key homeport for northeastern Asia.
This year the port expects 80 calls, of which 10 are turnarounds. By 2020, they are shooting for 160 calls and 320,000 passengers.
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Read a detailed analysis of the Chinese cruise market Cruise Industry News Fall/October 2015 Quarterly Magazine, due out October 13.
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