Zhoushan International Cruise Port welcomed its first international cruise on Monday afternoon, becoming China's fifth city to open an international cruise port after Shanghai, Tianjin, Xiamen and Sanya.
It is the first city in Zhejiang province to have such a port. Zhou Jiangyong, mayor of the city, said the addition will bring the city's tourism to a new level.
"Since the city was listed as a national new area focusing on marine economy in 2013, we have been making efforts to develop marine tourism as part of our economy. The international cruise port will contribute a large amount of tourism revenue in the future," he said.
The first international cruise to call at the port, carrying more than 1,200 tourists, started its journey at Keelung Port in Taiwan. The tourists will spend one day in Zhoushan and set off back to Keelung on Tuesday afternoon.
Fu Kaiming, general manager of Zhoushan Archipelago International Cruise Port Co, said he is confident in the market outlook for the port.
"Cruise tourism has been the fastest growing sector of the overall tourism industry in China since 2006, when China opened its first international cruise port in Shanghai. The number of such ports is largely behind the ever-growing demand," he said.
Fu said it is estimated that cruise tourism will contribute 51 billion yuan ($8.33 billion) to China's economy by 2020 and Zhoushan will account for a significant part of that.
"Zhoushan is located in the middle point of China's east coast, which makes it easier to travel to other main cruise ports in Asia including Keelung, Busan and Fukuoka," he said.
Fu said his company is in discussion with international cruise companies to provide cruise services to link Zhoushan and these ports.
"We will be seeing more than 200 cruises every year when the port is completely constructed," he said. (Source: ChinaDaily)