Shanghai to Establish Cruise Demonstration Zone

Spectrum of the Seas courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Spectrum of the Seas courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Published Aug 6, 2019 6:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Shanghai will establish a demonstration zone for cruise tourism as part of plans to become a hub for the industry including retail operations, cruise ship building and as a base for cruise companies' headquarters across the Asia-Pacific region.

The demonstration zone will be built at Shanghai’s former iron and steel production center. A 1,700-square-meter duty-free shop inside the cruise port will open in early November, when the second China International Import Expo takes place in Shanghai.

Since the Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal opened in 2011, Shanghai has become the biggest cruise port in Asia, with dock extensions and two new terminal buildings opening in the last few years. This year, Costa Venezia and the Spectrum of the Seas debuted at the terminal. MSC Cruises is expected to homeport MSC Bellissima there next year, and Costa Cruises, Star Cruises and Royal Caribbean also have plans to base vessels there.

The local government has also signed a letter of intent with China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) and Fincantieri to develop the Shanghai CSSC International Cruise Industrial Park. CSSC has also started construction of the first of a fleet of Chinese-built cruise ships operated by CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited, a joint venture between Carnival Corporation and CSSC. 

The Cruise Lines International Association released the 2018 Asia Cruise Industry Ocean Source Market Report earlier this year, stating that China led multiple source markets, some of which registered double-digit growth, to contribute to Asia’s record-breaking 4.24 million ocean-going cruise passengers in 2018. 

China's outbound tourism saw steady growth in the first half of this year, and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative have emerged as popular destinations, according to the China Tourism Academy.

Asia is now the third largest cruise region after North America and Europe. Asian cruise passengers predominantly sail in Asia with more than 50 percent cruising in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Almost 40 percent cruise in the rest of Asia.