“Carnival is very confident and optimistic on the China cruise market,” said Roger Chen, chairman in China for Carnival Corporation.
“We are here to stay in China,” said Chen, speaking at China Cruise Shipping in Shenzhen.
He elaborated that Costa had successfully operated in the Chinese market dating back to 2006, when the Costa Allegra debuted.
Next year, Costa will take it up a notch with the debut of the new made-for-China Costa Veneiza.
A second newbuild follows in 2020. Meanwhile, this winter, Costa maintains a year-round presence in China with the Atlantica and Senera.
Princess, he said, had been in the market since 2014 offering a premium experience. “Princess is not leaving China; Princess is still in China seasonally,” he noted.
Regarding 2018’s market fluctuations, he said exaggerations were being made, and it was natural for any industry to have adjustment periods.
“We are collaborating with China State Shipbuilding Corporation, building the largest made-in China vessel as part of the joint venture, and we will also operate this vessel in the Chinese market,” Chen said.
The newbuild program will touch a large industrial supply chain in China, he said.
In terms of mark challenges Chen pointed to limited itinerary options, geopolitical issues and weather concerns such as typhoons, as well as the charter model.
“We know people have been complaining about the distribution model,” he added. “We are moving to sell tickets directly to consumers and expand our distribution model.”
On the demand side, he said there was a huge potential market to be tapped with a relatively low penetration rate.