Global travel and leisure company Carnival has formed a joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation (CIC) to launch a multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market.
The new venture is expected to accelerate the development and growth of the overall cruise industry in China, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.
Under the terms of the agreement, Carnival and CSSC may purchase both new and existing cruise ships to homeport in China.
Additionally, the joint venture will operate the cruise ships as part of the first multi-ship fleet sailing for a domestic Chinese cruise brand.
CIC will serve as a significant investor in the new cruising joint venture.
Carnival Corporation global chief operations officer Buckelew said: “This cruising joint venture is a significant step forward for the cruise industry in China and a tremendous opportunity for us to work together with CSSC and CIC to grow awareness, interest and demand for cruise vacations amongst domestic Chinese travellers.
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“Cruising is a relatively new vacation experience in China, and we believe this collaborative approach with our partners is critical to not only developing the country’s domestic cruise business, but also supporting China’s goal to become one of the world’s leading cruise markets in coming years.
Carnival recently announced plans to deploy two additional cruise brands in the Chinese market in 2017, bringing the total number of its brands operating in the country to four, including the existing Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises.
The company also announced in July that the two brands under operations in China, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, will continue to expand in 2016 increasing the company’s total capacity in China by an additional 58%.
Princess Cruise’s latest ship, which is under construction, will also be based in China and is expected to enter the Chinese market in 2017.
With China expected to become the world’s largest cruise market in the future, cruise operators are making big plans to tap the growing demand for cruise vacations by Chinese travellers.
Recently, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) revealed plans to build the first purpose-built ship for the Chinese cruise market by 2017, and open offices in China to service the domestic customers.