Weekly Wrap: China Travel Keeps on Growing

This week Carnival Corp.'s decision to send COO Alan Buckelew to Shanghai, China, underscored the growing ties between the U.S. and China travel markets. 

Buckelew will oversee all of Carnival Corp.'s initiatives in China. 

"Today's announcement underscores our deep commitment to China as a market of great strategic importance for our company," Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said at the time. "Alan is one of the most respected leaders in the industry and having him on the ground in China will add great strength to our operation and growth opportunities in China."

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This summer marked the inaugural China season for Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess, which home ported in Shanghai. This season was the first home port cruising program for Princess Cruises. 

The first season drew on research into what Chinese travelers want out of a cruise experience, which resulted in the Princess Class experience. Special features included the World Leaders Dinner, Tai Chi at sea, ballroom dancing, an Ocean View Hot Pot dinner option, “Princess Night” stateroom amenities, a selection of subtitled Hollywood movies, a variety of Chinese satellite TV channels, a luxury shopping experience and many Chinese speakers among the ship's crew. 

Carnival is not the only line to have made big moves in China in recent months. Royal Caribbean International made waves back in April with the announcement that its big new Quantum-class ship, Quantum of the Seas, would homeport in Shanghai for the spring / summer 2015 season. Cruise editor Susan Young noted at the time that this was the first time a major new mega-ship had been home-ported in China by a North American cruise line. 

Travel to China

Travel, of course, works both ways. Even as major cruise lines have been expanding their offerings for Chinese travelers, U.S. travel to China has been on the rise. 

Earlier this summer the China National Tourist Office announced new efforts to capitalize on growing U.S. travel to the country. Citing research by TripAdvisor, PhoCusWright and the U.S. Department of State, China touted its efforts to reduce air pollution and improve air service. 

Staff editor Meagan Drillinger recently had the opportunity to experience a 12-day fam tour with G Adventures in China and Inner Mongolia. She came back with a special report on off-the-beaten-path destinations in China, as well as a look at where travel to the country is headed. 

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and research. 

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