(Yicai Global) Sept. 25 -- Ctrip.com International Ltd. [NASDAQ:CTRP], the largest Chinese online travel agency, and Chongqing New Century Cruise Co. announced the establishment of a joint venture at a recent cruise and yacht tourism festival, and the pair will partner up to break into the upscale cruise markets in cities along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Jiemian News reported.
China's luxury river cruise market has plenty of room for improvement in terms of product supply and diversity. The new JV will offer a Yangtze River cruise between Shanghai and Nanjing as a pilot, and develop new cruise liners and products by tapping into ports, resorts and tourist attraction resources along the route, Ctrip President Yang Lei said.
River cruises integrate travel, tourism, catering, accommodation and entertainment services, and the Yangtze River market has enough capacity to serve 200,000 to 300,000 cruisers on high-end trips a year.
Taking luxury river cruises as the core business, the JV will introduce a series of River Cruise Plus products and themed voyages designed for different seasons.
During the off season, the group will focus on developing innovative products such as introductory cruises and cruise weddings and conferences, creating a blend of businesses to bring greater prosperity to the North Bund area. The move will further develop the Yangtze River Economic Belt and encourage healthy interactions between cruise companies, tourists, resort operators and travel agencies.