By Liu Cheng
The reporter recently learnt from Qingdao International Cruise Port Administration that the Qingdao Cruise Terminal has received 88 cruises and some 81,000 passengers till now, a growth of 150 percent than last year. It is estimated that its reception capacity will climb to fourth from sixth in 2015. The three international cruise lines as Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd., and MSC Cruise have successively sent luxury cruise into the Qingdao Cruise Home-port.
With the popularity of the cruise industry, the China Cruise Tourism Development Experimental District in Qingdao recently been approved, which enabled Qingdao as an important carrier for national strategies. Taking it as an opportunity, Qingdao has decided the plans of transformation and upgrading of the old port area in Qingdao port and building an international cruise port city with the investment of hundreds of billion yuan.
To boost the building of Qingdao International Cruise Port, the Municipal party committee and municipal government of Qingdao has brought the cruise port into the municipal functional area management, where statutory body management models will be sought for. Recently, the Determination of Implementing the Pilot Initiative of Statutory Institute in Qingdao International Cruise Port has been approved by the Qingdao Standing Committee of the NPC and the Qingdao International Cruise Port Administration (QICPA) was officially established.
"Located in the east coast of Kiaochow bay, Qingdao Cruise Port has a land area of 5 km2 and planning construction area of some 6 million m2, and focus on commercial and business office. Its total investment will beyond hundreds of billion yuan." Related officials of QICPA told the reporter that the area planning of cruise port will emphasis on building a world-class cruise home-port comprehensive industry development zone according to the international standard, with highlighted tourism cultural characteristics, prioritized financial and commercial as well as clustered superior resources and high-end industries.
At present, a group of enterprises has commercially registered in the cruise port. Qingdao Cruise Terminal is the first launched project of Qingdao International Cruise Port. With the construction area about 60,000 m2, the terminal takes meaning "Sail" with the sail-like wing stretches to the seaside composes of 18 steel structures.
With a 1,200 meter-long berthing coastline and water depth of 13-14m, the Qingdao cruise home-port dock can freely berth the world's largest cruise (227,000 DWT) all-day long with the world-leading level of the highest customs clearance about 3,000 to 4,000 persons per hour. The cruise berth number this year will exceed 90 and it is estimated that the inbound and outbound number of cruise will reach 200 in 2020 with cruise tourists more than 400,000, which enables Qingdao to become a genuine "reception room of Qingdao city", "cruise center of Northern China" and to be among the "Northeast Asia regional cruise home-port".
"The potential of Qingdao cruise home-port should not be underestimated and it will ascend to the first group of cruise home-port cities in China with time." Liu Zinan, president of North Asia and Pacific Ocean and China of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd., said that there is a population of 9 million in Qingdao, 21 million within one-hour highway and railway distance and 100 million in one-hour flight distance, which indicates abundant tourist market. The geographic location of Qingdao is close to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan which provides excellent conditions for the development of Qingdao cruise home-port. "After next year, we will distribute Royal Caribbean’s newer and more luxurious cruises to Qingdao," said Liu Zinan.
It is understood that as a statutory institute for reform pilot in Qingdao, QICPA will enjoy certain management authorities, including the legal administration authority in planning, land, construction, finance, tourism, ocean, investment and logistics based on authorization or entrustment. As a platform company directly subordinate to QICPA, the Qingdao International Cruise Port Development and Construction Co., Ltd. is responsible for the development and construction as well as investment and financing of the cruise port area.
"Now, the worldwide collection of the area planning scheme has finished, we are now deepening the compilation of planning and simultaneously boost the special planning compilation such as industry planning and bring the surrounding 30 km2 as supporting service area into planning and research." A related official of QICPA told the reporter that along with the determination of space and estate planning, Qingdao International Cruise Port area is bound to be an investment hotspot with most attention and a gathering highland of high-end industry, fine resource and innovation personnel.