China to launch a Cruise Ship Tour between Shanghai and Naha, Ishigaki on a trial basis in October

China to launch a Cruise Ship Tour between Shanghai and Naha, Ishigaki on a trial basis in October

Shigenobu Asato (right), Chairman of Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau, explains the attractions of Okinawa tourism to SIPG staff, at OCVB Office in Naha, on July 27.

July 28, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), China’s largest ports group, plans to send a cruise ship on tour with 1300 passengers between Shanghai and Naha, Ishigaki in October on a trial basis. If it receives a favorable reaction from Chinese tourists, the company will operate a regular cruise ship service on the same route, from around October 2012.

SIPG staff visited Okinawa on a pre-inspection visit from July 24 to July 28, meeting with Shigenobu Asato, Chairman of Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) to exchange courtesies.
Including trial visits, it will be the first tour to Okinawa by a cruise ship from Shanghai.

SIPG is China’s largest ports group, accounting for a quarter of the container traffic in mainland China. It also has cruise ships for its foreign routes and is involved in the shipbuilding industry. SIPG has chartered a cruise ship from China to Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Kagoshima Prefecture.

On the trial tour to Okinawa, it will use a cruise ship owned by another company. A cruise of approximately 53000 tons capable of carrying 1300 passengers will visit Ishigaki City, on October 14.
The company aims at wealthy passengers for their cruise ship business. Based on its cruise ship tour to Fukuoka prefecture in the past, it will bring an estimated economic benefit to Okinawa of more than 34 million yen.

SIPG staff visited the management association for Naha Port and at travel agencies to check on the local situation for inbound tourists.
Connie Zhang, the general manager for the company, said, “Okinawa is suited to being a resort because of its history, its scenery and the nature of its people. We have also been to the main islands of Japan, but from now on we will place our business focus on Okinawa.”

Chairman Asato said, “Okinawa has strong appeal for repeater tourists. We expect people from Shanghai will come back to Okinawa.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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