On Tuesday, separate events marked the opening of the tenth China Cruise Shipping conference and trade show.
In the morning, the event’s trade show opened at a trendy Shanghai venue, while later in the day, top executives representing around 90 percent of the global cruise industry opened the conference portion of the show at the Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai, following an introduction by Zheng Weihang, executive vice chairman and secretary general, of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, was first up from the major cruise companies on the opening night.
In an opening speech Goldstein said there was “nothing but opportunity” in China and thanked a group of Chinese homeports for their efforts to grow the industry. “The market here is growing very fast,” he noted.
Goldstein noted a successful cruise season in 2015 despite challenges such as the MERS virus and a number of small typhoons.
Further development in China’s cruise industry will come from a crew recruiting surge, according to Goldstein, who added that Royal Caribbean is working to expand the Chinese supply chain, planning to triple food and beverage purchasing in China in 2016.
Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, announced much anticipated news, along with brand executives, that the Carnival and AIDA brands will head for China in 2017, joining Princess and Costa in the market.
Donald also said the company hopes to make contributions to port development in China.
“We are committed to China and building long-lasting win-win partnerships,” he added. “While the road of growth may be somewhat challenging, the long-term opportunities and near-term opportunities are great.”
Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, commented:
“It is a remarkable achievement that China will become the second largest cruise market in the world. I’m certain these happy guests will return time and time again to cruise with various brands.
“The Chinese market is an exciting prospect for the industry and provides my company with an unprecedented growth opportunity we intend to harvest,” he continued.
Finally, Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, spoke regarding MSC’s entry to the Chinese cruise market as the MSC Lirica arrives in Shanghai on a year-round basis starting in 2016.