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Cruise tourism enters full recovery in China, as Guangzhou Port restarts service
Update: 2024-06-26     Source: Global Times Net

Guangzhou international cruise port Photo: Courtesy of Port of Guangzhou

Guangzhou international cruise port 

China's cruise tourism market marked another milestone toward a full recovery with the Port of Guangzhou, the world's fifth largest port, reopening its cruise port service on Tuesday.

Guangzhou international cruise port, one of China's largest, located in Guangzhou city, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, restarted its service when cruise ship Blue Dream Melody left the port on Tuesday. The reopening of the port marked all major cruise ports along China's coast have resumed service now.

The ship, with an aggregate tonnage of 42,289 tons and carrying over 700 domestic and foreign passengers, will embark on a five-day-long trip to Hạ Long Bay in northeast Vietnam before returning to Guangzhou.

The reopening of Guangzhou cruise port marks a milestone in the recovery of China's cruise market since China's announcement of the reopening of its border and the restart of cross-border tourism in 2023, analysts said. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China's cruise market was the second largest globally.

The Guangzhou cruise port reopened as China beefed up efforts in attracting foreign visitors to activate the tourism industry. 

In April, Spectrum of the Seas, one of the Asia's largest cruise ships with a maximum capacity of 5,200 passengers, arrived in China carrying nearly 4,000 foreign tourists from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia. This marked the largest single influx of foreign tourists to China in recent times.

In May, China announced that foreign tourist groups (consisting of two or more people) traveling by cruise ship and organized by domestic travel agencies can enter the Chinese mainland without a visa as a whole group through a total of 13 designated ports, spanning from Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province to Sanya, South China's Hainan Province.

An official from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, said China cruise tourism will achieve a full recovery within two years, after posting stellar growth in passenger flows.

According to the official, the cruise industry welcomed more than 190,000 passengers, signaling a positive growth momentum, in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a report by the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the cruise industry could contribute a total of 550 billion yuan ($81.2 billion) in economic output to the Chinese economy by 2035.

Analysts said the recovery of China's cruise sector has undergone a four-step recovery process. This includes some voyages conducted last year to test the waters, the reactivation of China's cruise ports along the coastline, and the commercial operation of China's first domestically built large cruise ship, Adora Magic City, as well as the return of mega foreign cruise ships to Chinese ports.

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