Mahjong, shopping and karaoke – why the cruise experience is drawing Chinese tourists

October 8, 2017
Industry News
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Yujing Liu

The mainland has emerged as the world’s second-largest cruise market, attracting 2.1 million passengers in 2016

Major cruise lines have sharpened their focus on the mainland market, catering towards Chinese tastes in an effort to tap the world’s second largest cruise market in terms of passenger numbers.

Mahjong, casinos and duty-free shops are among the appeals for mainland holidaymakers, as millions of young people and families focus on a novel, yet convenient form of travel.

Last year, China became the world’s second biggest source of cruise passengers globally, according to trade association Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The number of mainlanders joining cruises has risen 76 per cent annually since 2012, reaching 2.1 million passengers in 2016.

Unlike their counterparts in developed markets, Chinese cruise lines tend to attract a younger demographic, often travelling in family groups.

“Cruises are no longer for the ‘nearly dead and newly wed’ in China. Cruise lines are putting on new ships and new entertainment to attract young people,” said Ingrid Leung, manager director of Incruising Travel Asia, a Hong Kong-based agency.

The average age of mainland passengers is 44, compared with 55 in the UK, data from CLIA shows. Those under 40 account for 40 per cent of all mainland passengers.

Casinos, duty-free shops, karaoke rooms, wind tunnel flying, Xbox games, rock climbing, and bumper cars are among the entertainment choices that impressed Tracy He, 35, when she took her mother on a cruise trip from Tianjin last September on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.Continue Reading

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