Leisure travel company Carnival Corporation has started the construction of the first cruise terminal at the port of Sasebo in Japan.

The construction of the cruise terminal is part of an agreement signed by Carnival Corporation, the city of Sasebo and the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in March last year.

Managed by the Carnival Corporation, the new terminal will become operational by the middle of 2020.

The company has signed a 20-year contract that gives preference to Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands to berth their ship as required.

Costa Group and Carnival Asia group CEO Michael Thamm said: “As the cruise industry’s first terminal in Japan, this ground-breaking is a historic day for all of us at Carnival Corporation and for our partners in this exciting project.

“This new terminal will complement our strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region and furthers our commitment to help facilitate the rising demand for cruise vacations in the region, enabling even more people from around the world to discover why Japan is such an extraordinary destination, one that many of our guests have long enjoyed.

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“And as our company’s first cruise terminal investment in Japan, we are excited to mark the start of our long-term relationship. We are actively working on future investment opportunities to help further support growth and expand the Japanese cruise industry for years to come.”

Carnival will also continue to collaborate with Japan’s government and MLIT to identify additional port development opportunities.

Carnival Corporation operates numerous cruise line brands in Japan, including AIDA Cruises, Cunard, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn.

In September, Carnival Cruise Line received the Miami-Dade County Commission’s approval for the planned modernisation and expansion of Cruise Terminal F at PortMiami.