(Yicai Global) Oct. 25 -- Chinese outbound tourism services provider HNA-Caissa Travel Group Co. [SHE:000796] has reached a cooperation agreement with US firm Quark Expeditions on Chinese tourist cruises to the polar region, the listed company said in a press briefing in Beijing yesterday.
The two parties also initiated a co-sponsored public action plan for the environmental protection of polar regions.
HNA-Caissa Travel will purchase six to eight voyages from Quark Expeditions during each Antarctic travel season, helping the firm to maintain an annual growth rate of 10 percent and providing polar tourism services for Chinese consumers.
Polar tourism is becoming an increasingly popular segment of China's high-end tourism market. China has surpassed Australia to become the second largest source of tourists to Antarctica behind the US, data from the International Association of Antarctic Tourism Organizations show.
The number of visitors to Antarctica is expected to increase annually at an average rate of 30 percent, of which one-seventh will come from China.
Quark Expeditions has more than 20-year experience in polar expeditions.
"Quark Expeditions' polar cruises can reach locations that other companies' voyages cannot," said Andrew White, president of Quark Expeditions. "In addition to exploring the habitats of animals and plants, visitors can enjoy rare animals, plants and marine creatures up close, and there many places to land for long stays onshore."