China Focus: Rising int'l cruise ship visits show signs of tourism revival-Xinhua

China Focus: Rising int'l cruise ship visits show signs of tourism revival

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-10 15:11:15

TIANJIN, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Baesch David Rudolph, 65, who hails from the United States, was very excited as he wheeled his suitcase into the lobby of the Tianjin International Cruise Home Port in north China's port city of Tianjin, which neighbors Beijing.

Rudolph was among more than 1,800 tourists from 50 countries and regions aboard the cruise ship Serenade of the Seas, which arrived at the port on Sunday.

Rudolph decided to visit the Forbidden City and the Great Wall in Beijing. "That's wonderful and exciting! I'm looking forward to this trip in China."

Sailing from Incheon, the Republic of Korea, on Friday, the cruise ship docked in Tianjin for two days and one night. Most of the tourists went sightseeing in Tianjin and Beijing, experiencing the local customs and traditions.

The 275-day cruise on the ship, which is registered in the Bahamas and operated by Royal Caribbean Group, is the longest round-the-world route at present. Tianjin is its only stop on the Chinese mainland, according to the company.

Bi Linlin, an immigration inspection officer in Tianjin, said that with the rapid recovery of China's cruise industry, the demand from foreign tourists to visit China's scenic spots and historic sites is growing.

"The immigration authorities are working with the cruise line and the port company to streamline passenger clearance procedures and let them have more time to travel in China," said Bi.

Since China's Ministry of Transport announced the full resumption of international cruise ship transport to and from ports in the country in September 2023, some international cruise companies have expressed their confidence in the Chinese cruise market.

On March 10 and 11, about 2,000 tourists and staff members aboard the Zuiderdam cruise ship operated by the Holland America Line visited the port city of Dalian in northeast China and Tianjin, respectively.

The Silver Shadow cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Group, docked in Shanghai on Sunday. It was the ship's first visit to Shanghai in the past five years, according to the company.

About 300 tourists on board visited Shanghai's famous tourist attractions, including the Oriental Pearl, the Bund, and the Yuyuan Garden.

"We always stick to the Chinese market, and we are committed to creating value for Chinese consumers, society and economic development and inbound and outbound travel. We have full confidence in the resilience of the Chinese economy," said Liu Zinan, chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Asia.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean International announced its new China route deployment plan in March, with two cruises deployed in ports in Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. The plan's sailing time frame ranges from February 2025 to April 2026.

"In terms of the number of cruise ships, the Chinese cruise industry is experiencing significant growth in 2024," said Ye Xinliang, deputy dean of the School of Management of Shanghai University of Engineering Science.

As the largest cruise home port in north China, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port has welcomed 22 cruise ships and seen 68,000 tourist visits so far this year, according to Dong Zichen, deputy general manager of Tianjin International Cruise Home Port Co., Ltd.

"We are quite optimistic about the recovery of the cruise tourism industry in Tianjin," Dong said, adding that Tianjin International Cruise Home Port is estimated to receive 100 cruise ships and 300,000 inbound and outbound tourist visits this year.