Carnival Corporation & plc last week confirmed that it has formed a joint venture with China State Ship-building Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation (CIC) to launch a multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market. China is expected to become the largest cruise market in the world within a decade.
The joint venture was unveiled at a signing ceremony held Oct. 21 in London. British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony, signifying the importance of the joint venture and the prominent role that the travel and tourism industry will play in China’s economic growth plans.
Carnival and CSSC, the largest shipbuilder in China, plan to purchase and operate cruise ships as part of what is expected to be the first multi-ship fleet sailing for a domestic Chinese cruise brand.
Specific fleet details will be announced at a later date, but potential plans could include the purchase of both new and existing cruise ships to homeport in China.
The CIC, currently one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with over $740 billion in assets under management, will serve as a significant investor in the new cruising joint venture with CSSC and Carnival Corporation & plc.
CIC’s involvement reinforces China’s commitment to developing a strong domestic cruise presence. The growing demand for cruising is seen as a key driver of the expanding Chinese tourism market, which is a top priority for longer term economic development in China.
“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 travelers,” said Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation & plc.
The joint venture announcement builds on recent news that Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will join Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in China in 2017, furthering the company’s multi-brand strategy.
On Oct. 28, the Carnival Cruise Line brand further announced that its initial commitment of two ships to the China market beginning with Carnival Miracle in spring 2017 followed by Carnival Splendor in spring 2018. Both ships will be based in China year round.