Xiamen port in East China’s Fujian province will open 10 more cruise routes to economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative in the second half of this year, as part of its broader efforts to bolster ties with them.
“Xiamen port plans to open a total of 15 cruise routes related to the B&R Initiative this year, which is expected to bring about 60,000 tourists in total,” said Chen Zhiping, chairman of Xiamen Port Holding Group Co.
“The port will put routes to the B&R economies high on the agenda with an aim of building it into a transportation pivot helping the development of the B&R Initiative,” he added.
The move came after Xiamen port launched a cruise route passing through six nations involved in the initiative earlier this year.
The 220.6-meter-long, 30.8-meter-wide cruise liner made a loop and visited attractions in the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Xiamen port, which handled more than 10 million containers over the past year, has moved up to the 14th largest container port globally for the first time.
By now, more than 50 such cruise routes have been opened at the port, accounting for over one-third of its total lines and linking 38 ports across 18 countries and regions.
In the first half of this year, it had already developed five new cruise routes to the B&R economies and has handled more than 21,000 tourists.
Chen noted that the port will also open some themed cruise routes with cultural performances and experiences to attract more people from both home and abroad.
“Fujian is home to many overseas Chinese. By launching themed routes like this, we expect to enhance cultural exchanges through the cruise trips,” he added.
Lines related to the B&R economies have become hot tickets as epitomized by their popularity among tourists.
Zhang Haijun, head of cruise business at Xiamen International Cruise Home Port, said many cruise routes passing through B&R countries and regions have been fully booked.
“An increasing number of tourists choose to take tours along the Maritime Silk Road as more people have a deeper understanding of the initiative,” he said.
To back such routes, Xiamen port is set to bolster its competitiveness by leveraging latest technologies including cloud computing, wireless communication and unmanned automation.
Jobs like loading, unloading, and stockpiling containers can be completed by automated machines controlled by computers in the terminal’s central control room.