Cruise industry looks to growing market from China

World Today

It might be described as the high life on the high seas. Cruising has been a popular option for travelers worldwide, particularly from China.

But it’s also raising concerns about the impact on the environment. CGTN’s Frances Kuo has the story.

Grand foyers, live-entertainment, hair-raising adventures. All to be had on the high seas.

Sylvia Bau is among the 30 million people worldwide expected to take a cruise this year. She’s also part of a fast-growing clientele from china. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists taking cruises tripled in just four years.

Cruise companies are taking note. Royal Caribbean debuted the spectrum of the seas a few months ago in China — custom-built for Chinese tourists like Bau. It’s one of the ways the industry is striving to make Chinese travelers feel at home.

“We will have authentic Chinese food choices for our Chinese guests. And we have Chinese dedicated spa, that’s all about comfort and relaxation,” said Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises. “There are things like mahjongg for grandma. Our whole environment caters to the Chinese preferences in many ways.”

“It’s so comfortable and interesting on the cruise. I can enjoy the five-star service. Just as I took off my coat, the attendant quickly came to hang it up. And the food aboard is so excellent,” said passenger Sally Leung.

China is the world’s second-largest cruise market, behind the U.S. It could become the biggest by 2030, according to the Shanghai International Shipping Institute with as many as 10 million customers every year.

“When I first came to China in 2008 or 2009, we saw the opportunity of developing the cruise market. The growth of demand in the Chinese market has been very strong. It represents probably today around 8 percent of our total businesss,” said Michael Bayley, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

China is also trying to anchor itself in the industry. As part of its recent development plan…the government has pushed to boost china’s cruise tourism sector and build international terminals. It’s developing its first luxury cruise ship, scheduled to set sail by 2023.

But with this growing thirst for cruises comes concerns about the impact of giant liners.

An MSC cruise ship crashed into a dock in Venice in June, injuring four tourists.

Recently, the Italian government announced it would ban large cruise liners from entering the city’s grand canal and re-route them away from the historic center.

There’s also worry about the environmental toll. Mega liners often carry thousands of passengers — which amounts to tons of trash left behind and harmful sulfur oxide spewing into the air.

Starting next year, all cruise ships will be required to limit the emissions to half a percent from the current three-point-five.

A move to make the delicate balance of serving passengers and protecting the environment.

Stephen Scott on China’s booming cruise industry and the impact ships have on the environment

CGTN’s Mike Walter talks to Stephen Scott, founder and CEO of Travel Hub 365 on China’s cruise industry, and the impact the cruise liners have on the environment.