Carnival Corporation has started construction of the cruise industry’s first cruise terminal in Japan, located at the port of Sasebo, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by government, business and community representatives, according to a press release.
In attendance for Carnival Corporation were Remco Buis, senior vice president port operations and development, and Paul Chong, vice president of business development for Carnival Asia, as well as representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and the city of Sasebo.
As part of a strategic partnership agreement signed in March 2018 with the city of Sasebo and MLIT Japan, Carnival Corporation will construct and operate the new terminal, expected to open in summer 2020.
Under the 20-year agreement, Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands will be granted berthing preference, enabling them to provide guests with optimized cruise itineraries when visiting the port.
“As the cruise industry’s first terminal in Japan, this groundbreaking is a historic day for all of us at Carnival Corporation and for our partners in this exciting project,” said Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “This new terminal will complement our strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region and furthers our commitment to help facilitate the rising demand for cruise vacations in the region, enabling even more people from around the world to discover why Japan is such an extraordinary destination, one that many of our guests have long enjoyed. And as our company’s first cruise terminal investment in Japan, we are excited to mark the start of our long-term relationship. We are actively working on future investment opportunities to help further support growth and expand the Japanese cruise industry for years to come.”
Carnival said it will continue to work with Japan’s government and MLIT to identify potential additional port development opportunities and future investments in the country.
Japan is a popular destination for seven of Carnival Corporation’s cruise line brands, including AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn. Overall, Carnival Corporation is expecting to accommodate an estimated 2 million passenger movements in the market in 2019, with nearly 800 calls from 15 ships from the company’s cruise line brands to over 50 ports in Japan.