The 12th China Cruise Shipping Conference and International Expo was well underway on Monday in Sanya with a full conference program for an estimated 700 attendees, as well as an adjacent trade show exhibition area.
The Chinese cruise market was the key topic of discussion, with perspectives presented from cruise lines, key suppliers, Chinese state-owned companies, shipyards, ports and more.
After an eight year hiatus, China Cruise Shipping returned to Sanya with record-breaking attendance, according to Zhiyuan Lu, secretary general, The People's Government of Hainan.
SkySea Cruise Line has moved up its scheduled drydocking from January 2018. The New Golden Era is currently in a drydock in China for needed marine maintenance, with the Shanghai-based company also taking the opportunity to perform various upgrades on the hotel side.
Jiacheng Cai, director, financial and planning department, National Tourism Administration, said he hopes someday China can build a fleet of cruise ships that will sail to all corners of the globe with Chinese passengers.
"That will symbolize China's growing strength and aspiration for peace. It will send a reassuring message to our friends around the world," Cai said.
Many established European suppliers have now set up shop in China, hoping to cater to the number of Chinese shipyards bidding on newbuild projects.
Of note, China had 374 calls in 2008, with that number rocketing to 1,937 calls last year.
Fenjian Chen, president, Communications Construction Group, said his firm has five key areas when it comes to the cruise industry. Among the most important is developing homeports across China. The Group has major investments in most Chinese ports, and also aims to eventually start its own cruise brand.
MSC Cruises has aspirations to source Chinese guests for European itineraries, and currently carries about 25,000 Chinese passengers per year in Europe, according to Bud Darr, executive vice president, maritime policy and government affairs.
"The MSC Splendida is part of a long-term plan for solid and sustainable growth in China," said Darr. "I am here to reassure you to our commitment to this key market.
"MSC is here and here to stay. Make no mistake, China and the entire Asia region are a top priority for us," he said.
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