Qingdao Offers Financial Incentive for Cruise Industry
Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China's Shandong province, is offering financial incentives aimed at accelerating the build out of the China Cruise Tourism Development Experimental Zone in Qingdao as part of the city's transition into an international tourism destination.
On December 11, the Qingdao Municipal Tourism Development Committee and Shibei District People's Government jointly released plans to provide subsidies of up to three million yuan (approximately $435,000) to cruise firms that include the city as a port of call in their itineraries and travel agencies that organize sightseeing tours in the city, as well as for outbound travel agencies and ticket agents that operate rented and chartered cruises in Qingdao.
The subsidies include $14,500-$58,000 per voyage for departures from Qingdao, $72,500 for every 10 voyages to cruise firms that have launched formal operations in Qingdao and $435,000 for at least 50 voyages. Additionally, outbound travel agencies and ticket agents that rent or charter cruise ships with the base of operations in Qingdao and succeed in boarding 5,000 or more passengers per year who then travel abroad would be entitled to a subsidy of approximately $29 per passenger.
The cruise sector is seen as having huge revenue potential for the city. As a key port city in northern China and an open coastal city, Qingdao boasts rich tourism resources, a favorable climate and an excellent deep-water port, says the government. Qingdao's docking facilities for cruise ships are located in proximity to the city's railway station and downtown area. With the ability to draw in an increasing number of tourists from other parts of Shandong province as well as nearby Beijing, Henan and Shanxi provinces, combined with the rollout of the Jinan-Qingdao and Qingdao-Lianyungang high-speed railways, the government believes the local cruise market has a promising future.
The city's attractions include Laoshan, the highest coastal mountain in China, and Badaguan, a historical area dotted with opulent mansions, garden-like villas and European-style buildings. The city features a distinctive urban landscape and unique culture that combines oriental and western elements. The city has also increased its appeal as a travel destination by hosting several internationally recognized sailing competitions, most notably the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Competition, as well as the Qingdao International Beer Festival.