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Cruises to S.China Sea become first to resume in China amid pandemic

â–²Photo: VCG

 

Cruise trips to the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea resumed on Wednesday, while complying with strict epidemic prevention measures following an 11-month suspension.  All tickets for December have been sold out.

The line from Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province, to the Xisha Islands is  Asia’s first cruise route to resume since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cruise ship Nanhai Dream resumed operations on Wednesday, according to the Hainan provincial department of transportation.

Another ship, Changle Gongzhu, is scheduled to resume operations on Thursday.

According to Hainan Cruises, the company that owns Nanhai Dream, a four-day tour is priced from 4,880 yuan ($741) per person for a six-person inner cabin to 26,800 yuan per person for a luxury sea-view suite.

Tickets have been snapped up after the resumption notice was issued on November 27, and almost all cabin tickets for December have been sold out, showing a booming Chinese market for cruise trips and strong economic recovery in the post-epidemic era.

To comply with epidemic prevention measures, ships will only accept tourists from low-risk areas. Passengers are requested to provide a negative nucleic acid test certificate issued within seven days before boarding and present a green health code. Passengers must also have body temperature checks three times on the ship.

In addition, the liners may carry no more than 50 percent of their passenger capacity in the initial stage of resumption, which could be lifted to no more than 70 percent after two weeks of operation if epidemic prevention and control measures prove effective.

The trial resumption shows that the cruise industry in China is gradually recovering from the pandemic, and more domestic and international cruise operators are expected to apply to resume trips, experts said.

“Based on the market feedback we have received so far, the inquiries and bookings for the Xisha cruise products from our platform have exceeded expectations.

It shows that Chinese consumers’ confidence in domestic cruise ships is returning following the successful containment of the virus in China,” Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager at China’s CYTS Tours Holding Co, told the Global Times on November 30.

Despite the optimism, experts warned that the industry needs to move slowly and carefully. Full services probably won’t resume until next year, depending on the development process of COVID-19 vaccines.

Global Times

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