China’s Ministry of Transport has given Hainan's Sanya and Haikou cruise ports approval to begin a trial of ‘cruises to nowhere’.
The ministry is encouraging Chinese cruise enterprises to design a variety of cruises to nowhere – short one or two days trips at sea - where “lewd and gambling activities” will be strictly forbidden.
The ministry said the pilot programme aims to help Chinese residents cultivate cruise leisure consumption concepts, promote the construction of the Sanya cruise home port, and support the development of the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the largest in the country, China Daily reported.
The Chinese-funded cruise operators should be legal representatives of domestic cruise transport businesses that own no less than 51% of the international cruise transport business, according to the ministry.
The Hainan Department of Transportation will be responsible for market access management of pilot cruise enterprises and cruise liners, and keep local authorities in charge of foreign affairs, tourism, public security, border inspection, customs, maritime and other relevant departments informed in a timely manner.
The ministry said pilot cruise enterprises should submit applications for prescheduled cruise to nowhere routes two months in advance, providing information on specific routes, times and voyage arrangements.
The policy will allow tourists to embark on cruises with their identification cards or entry and exit documents, "a breakthrough that will greatly simplify the embarking procedures”, said Zheng Weihang, executive vice-president of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
Jiang Yiyi, director of the China Tourism Academy's International Tourism Development Institute, told China Daily, "The domestic market demand will provide good support to the pilot programme, which can be introduced to other parts of the country when sufficient experience has been acquired.”