Shanghai develops cruise industry with strategic plan

Huang Yixuan
Shanghai is set to develop it's sea-line cruise industry, with an active forward plan that incorporates ports, manufacturing and supply.
Huang Yixuan

Shanghai unveiled an action plan to promote high-quality development of the international cruise economy in the city throughout the 2023-2025 period.

By focusing on the strategic direction of high-level reform and opening-up, the plan will seize the important window of opportunity for the resumption of the global cruise economy to foster innovation in policies and systems for the international cruise industry.

According to the action plan, Shanghai outlines its vision to become an internationally renowned cruise hub, a globally influential cruise tourism destination, and a regional cruise economic center with global resource allocation capabilities by 2035.

The plan set six specific work objectives, including establishing a cruise "hub port," developing a cruise "headquarters port," and building a cruise "manufacturing port." It also aims to enhance the ability for independent cruise operations, establish an Asia-Pacific cruise ship supply base, and significantly increase the scale of the cruise economy.

To achieve these goals, the action plan proposes 20 work measures in five aspects, which are, developing the cruise headquarters economy, strengthening the cruise manufacturing system, consolidating the functions of the port hub, improving cruise support services, and optimizing the cruise industry ecosystem.

For example, one key aspect of the plan is the cultivation and aggregation of domestic and foreign cruise company headquarters. The city is to improve the quality of domestic cruise brands and promote the professional restructuring of cruise manufacturing companies, while it is also luring global cruise enterprises to set up their regional headquarters in Shanghai.

Shanghai develops cruise industry with strategic plan

Two foreigners pose in front of China's first domestically-built large cruise ship, the "Adora Magic City"

On solidifying the policy support system for the cruise industry, one of the measures is to strengthen the construction of a financial service system, expanding investment and financing channels, increasing the supply of financial and insurance products and services in the cruise construction sector, and supporting the initial public offerings (IPOs) of cruise companies.

The action plan also emphasizes the establishment of a comprehensive talent system for the cruise industry, pledging to enhance the cultivation of local cruise talents, establish a talent pool for the entire cruise industry chain, and strengthen the exchange of high-level talents in the industry.

In addition, the city will set up a cruise data statistics and monitoring system, while also optimizing the supporting policy system by establishing a cruise industry policy support system and issuing local regulations.

As the first national homeport for cruises in China, Shanghai has consistently maintained a market share of over 50 percent nationwide. It is the only city in the country that covers the entire cruise industry chain, including cruise research and development, construction, operation, and port services.

Before 2019, the city's international cruise economy experienced rapid and steady growth, with the number of international cruise passengers increasing from 26,000 in 2006 to 3.78 million in 2019, contributing to 5.6 percent of the global cruise market. By the end of 2019, it had cumulatively received over 3,000 cruise calls and approximately 15.3 million visitors, with the overall scale of the cruise economy reaching 26 billion yuan (US$3.57 billion).

Shanghai this year has been actively promoting the pilot resumption of international cruises with a scheme released in March. It has since witnessed a strong momentum of accelerated recovery and growth in the cruise economy.

Data showed that since the pilot resumption, the city's cruise industry has generated over 300 million yuan in ticket sales revenue, approximately 100 million yuan in ship supplies consumption, and has driven around 3.5 million yuan in consumption at duty-free shops in cruise ports. It has also created over 4,000 new job positions and is expected to add about 20,000 job positions by 2024.

Shanghai develops cruise industry with strategic plan
Ti Gong

Luxury cruise liner CM-Yidun docks at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal.

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