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TIANJIN, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- A senior member of the cruise industry has talked up China's potential market for cruise ship tourism in the wake of new policy support.
"The number of the world's cruise ship passengers is around 20 million every year, with 11 million from north America, compared to 1.7 million from the Asia Pacific region," said Liu Zinan, vice president of Royal Caribbean Asia, on Wednesday.
"Though Asia takes only a small portion of the market, its potential for fast development in the sector has been noticed by global cruise lines," Liu said.
"In the next 10 to 20 years, the Asia Pacific will no doubt be a shining spot for cruise ship tourism."
China's State Council, the cabinet, released a guideline in August which set an agenda for boosting cruise ship tourism, including planning the construction of ports along rivers and sea coasts, increasing both international and domestic cruise lines, as well as the manufacturing of cruise ships and yachts in China.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, global cruise ship tourism has grown at 8.6 percent annually over the past 30 years, higher than growth in the overall tourism industry. It forecast that the number of passengers traveling via cruise ship will reach 30 million by 2020.
As the leading growth driver in Asia, China potentially boasts a market of 13 million annual cruise ship passengers, it added.