South China's Hainan Province plans to develop more cruise routes to upgrade its tourism, Hainan governor Shen Xiaoming said Sunday.
According to the government work report delivered by Shen to the provincial people's congress, which opened its annual session on Sunday, Hainan in 2019 aims to add cruise routes around the main island and to its Xisha Islands.
It will also encourage cruise companies to explore routes to regions like Southeast Asia, expanding cruise services departing from Hainan, Shen said.
With its growing legion of middle-class travelers, China is emerging as a gigantic cruise market.
The Cruise Lines International Association estimates that by 2025, the number of Chinese travelers who will have experienced cruise trips will grow to 8-10 million, a surge from about 2.5 million in 2017.
Hainan has started a pilot run of its 15-day visa-free policy for tourist groups who take cruises and enter the country from ports in Hainan.