Industry Eyes Development of South China Market

Norwegian Joy in Shenzhen

The Guangzhou Cruise Development Roundtable saw key Chinese cruise market stakeholders come together to discuss the importance of developing the south China market, contributing ideas to develop the cruise industry in Guangzhou.

“South China is a highlight in China’s current cruise adjustment period,” said Weihang Zheng, executive vice president and secretary general of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA).

“Since last year, the national cruise market has decreased by 18 percent,” he continued. “Previously, we maintained an annual growth rate from 40 to 60 percent.  However, the growth in Guangzhou has not declined."

Zheng noted he hoped the industry would grow in a sustainable way in Guangzhou.

“We regard the South China market as a rising star in China’s cruise industry,” he said. “We should slowly ‘raise’ this dark horse rather than rapidly ‘fatten’ it.”

The south China domestic market will be driven by a collection of key homeports, led by Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and soon to include a new facility in Guangzhou. Additional key supporting ports include Xiamen, Sanya and Haikou.

Ying Xu, vice president of marketing for SkySea Cruise Line, said that Guangzhou (Nansha) was now one of the top five domestic source markets for China. With cruise capacity down countrywide for 2018, she noted that supply was actually up in key homeports in South China and that the sales performance was encouraging.

“The passenger source market is of very high quality,” she said. “In addition, Guangzhou has very rich tourism resources and can build a market for individual travelers … in the next few years there will be more itinerary choices for guests taking cruises from Guangzhou compared to Shanghai.

“In addition, there are quite varied peak  seasons in east China and north China due to weather, which will cause price fluctuations,” Ying said. “However, this issue does not exist in the south China market.”

Beyond sourcing passengers, the region is also bullish on supply chain advancements, starting with Guangzhou Shipyard International, part of China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

“It is the ‘Chinese dream’ among us shipbuilders to manufacture locally-built cruise ships,” said Ji Chen, general manager. “We are also confident that China’s shipbuilding companies can independently build cruise ships soon.”

Xu Zhang, general manager of east and south China for Ctrip, an online travel agency, said he was confident in the south China market. In May, Ctrip launched a flagship store in Guangzhou to sell cruise vacations.

“We also believe that the development of the cruise industry in Guangzhou will certainly catch up to and surpass Tianjin and Shanghai in future,” he noted

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