Last week marked the beginning of the construction phase of China’s first large luxury cruise liner, a project that is estimated to top $2.63 billion.
As part of a package of projects intended to boost tourism and the shipping industries at coastal cities, the Southeast China International Shipping Center package includes 10 projects led by the construction of the 100,000-ton luxury cruise liner. The package also includes building a cruise terminal and shipping business center in the city of Xiamen.
The cruise liner alone is said to cost approximately $487 million and leading international design firms are participating in the project.
According to Lin Shilin, an industry and investment official with Xiamen’s Haicang district, it could take up to 47 months to build the massive cruise liner. Once it’s complete, it will be able to carry more than 2,000 passengers and will be named, “Xiamen, China”. According to officials, the cruise liner won’t be ready to sail the waters until 2018.
Xiamen, China will be operated by a subsidiary of Beijing-based Shan Hai Shu Group, a conglomerate that already has an established partnership with US-based Royal Caribbean International.
Shan Hai Shu’s chief operational officer, Huang Ju, said, “With our own cruise liner, it will be easier to design cruise routes and develop our own tourism products.”
The cruise liner is expected to further promote the city and help with economic growth in the region.
According to Xiamen’s tourism bureau, the city also plans to partner with global cruise tourism operators to build a world-class shopping and entertainment center on the cruise terminal. They hope to include the highest number of luxury stores in the world.
Locals hope that the city’s new industrial port belt, dubbed “Cruise City”, will allow “people arriving in Xiamen on cruises to have as much fun … as they do in Las Vegas.