Genting Hong Kong has entered into a strategic cooperation framework agreement with China Merchants Shekou Holdings to jointly develop Tai Zi Bay, Shekou, Shenzhen into an international cruise homeport with the goal to accelerate the growth of the cruise industry in China.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed by Ang Moo Lim, executive vice president, sales of Genting Hong Kong and president of Star Cruises, and Xu Yongjun, managing director of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone.
Also during the press conference, Genting Hong Kong announced the future homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo at Tai Zi Bay, Shekou from November 2016, marking another milestone in Star Cruises’ history when it will become the first international cruise line to choose Shenzhen as its homeport.
“A pioneer in the cruise industry in China over 20 years ago, Genting Hong Kong has, over the years, developed Sanya, Haikou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen homeports, not to mention the evergreen homeports of HK and Taipei, making us the cruise company with the longest history and with the most homeports in Greater China,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting Hong Kong.
He added: “Having observed the great potential of Shenzhen, from as early as 2002, we operated cruises to Vietnam from the old Shekou Port.
“We are pleased to see the development of Tai Zi Bay and even happier to ink a strategic alliance with China Merchant Group today, to join hands in developing cruise tourism in China.”
Cruising has become more popular in China in recent years.
In 2015, more than 1.2 million Chinese travellers joined cruises and this number is expected to rise to 4.5 million in five years.
In response to the increasing demand in the market and to help develop the cruise industry in the country, Genting Hong Kong is strengthening its strategic deployment plan in Southern China and will offer a wide range of products optimised for Chinese travellers, providing them with easy access to cruises right from their doorstep.
Li Jianhong, chairman of China Merchants Group has full confidence in the future prospects of the China cruise market: “Asia’s cruise industry is booming and
China is expected to become the fastest-growing country in the world as international cruise lines ramp up their operations in response to surging demand from China’s emerging middle class.”
He added: “Already well-known for its business strength in finance, property, logistics and trading, China Merchant Group is poised to enhance its international reputation through developing high-end cruise industry ecosystems through our collaboration with Genting Hong Kong and via expansion in cruise industry construction and operation, including cruise terminal construction and management, fleet development, maintenance and repair.
“The Tai Zi Bay Cruise Terminal, the only cruise port in China capable of accommodating 220,000-ton cruise liners, which will start service in November this year, will be a very important waterway portal for Shenzhen and will improve the city’s international standing as a modern, world-class metropolis.”