Carnival Corporation have signed a first-of-its-kind, long-term strategic partnership agreement with the Japanese port city of Sasebo. Under the agreement, Carnival Corporation will invest in the construction of a new terminal at the port of Sasebo, with plans to be in operation by 2020. The agreement was announced in Sasebo with representatives from Carnival Corporation, the local government of Sasebo and the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
This long-term agreement supports the Japanese government’s initiatives to develop the country’s ports by 2020, in advance of the Tokyo Olympic Games. As part of these efforts – led by Michio Kikuchi, director general of the Ports and Harbours Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure Transportation and Tourism – Japan has opened up a number of public/private partnership opportunities, of which Carnival Corporation currently has the most number of committed ports. Japan’s ports have witnessed exponential growth in visitors over the past few years, and as cruises continue to increase in popularity in Asia, this trend is expected to put increased strain on Japan’s existing port infrastructure.
As part of the agreement to build the new terminal in Sasebo, Carnival Corporation will be granted berthing preference, enabling the company to optimize its cruise itineraries visiting the port. During the announcement ceremony, Carnival Corporation’s representative, president of Costa Group Asia Mario Zanetti, highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the public/private partnership and stressed the strategic importance of the partnership to Carnival Corporation.
“As the world’s largest leisure travel company with nine global cruise line brands, Carnival Corporation considers its role in the long-term development of the cruise, travel and tourism industry in Asia and especially Japan as an important strategic priority,” said Zanetti. “Through our long-term investment in the port of Sasebo, and hopefully additional Japanese ports, we hope to facilitate the rising demand for travel in this important region, allowing even more people from around the world to discover the beauty of Japan. With the world-class travel infrastructure available in many Japanese cities, we also believe that there is significant potential in collaborating with the government to develop certain Japanese ports into turnaround ports to promote more fly-and-cruise packages out of Japan. This will expand cruise tourism in Japan, by enabling the region to become a key cruise hub in Asia for global travelers.”
Zanetti added: “We are grateful for the opportunity to support growth efforts for the cruise market in Japan with this groundbreaking port development agreement, and we look forward to working with the Japanese government and local governments throughout the country to further expand the Japanese cruise industry in the years to come.”
Over 100 guests attended the announcement ceremony in early March to support the beginning of Carnival Corporation’s partnership with Japan. In attendance at the event were Norio Tomonaga, Mayor of Sasebo, and Hodo Nakamura, Governor of Nagasaki, along with Kikuchi and other government agencies of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure Transportation and Tourism.
Carnival Corporation currently has the largest cruise presence in Japan, including over 870 calls in 45 ports in Japan, carrying an estimated 1.8 million cruise passengers in the market.