经济学人官方译文 | 邮轮公司在中国今不如昔:中国游客怎么了?

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Cruise lines in China
邮轮公司在中国
Not what it was
今不如昔
What slumping demand for cruises says about Chinese tourists
邮轮游需求骤降。中国游客怎么了?

WESTERNERS IMAGINE Chinese travellers to be different from them. The rise in the number of large tour groups in European cities has stoked fears of “overtourism” among locals. Chinese tourists’ supposed preference for only visiting popular landmarks, their taste for Chinese food and their addiction to luxury shopping are widely mocked. But the tastes of Chinese travellers are, in fact, rapidly converging with international norms—nowhere more so than on cruise ships.
在西方人的想象中,中国的旅行者和他们不一样。前往欧洲城市的大型旅行团越来越多,引发了当地人对“过度旅游”的担忧。一般认为,中国游客只去热门景点,爱吃中餐,痴迷于购买奢侈品——种种这些令他们广受嘲笑。但事实上,中国游客的口味正在迅速向国际常态靠拢——在乘邮轮旅行方面最是如此。

America dominates the cruise industry. Carnival, Royal Carribean and Norwegian Cruise Line, which control nearly 80% of the global market between them, are based there. Just over half of the 26m people who went on a cruise in 2018 were American, reckons Cruise Market Watch, a data-provider. But China is catching up. Between 2013 and 2016 number of Chinese cruise-goers grew at a compound annual rate of 70%. In 2016 they overtook Germans to become the second-biggest cruise-going nation. Last year 2.4m Chinese holidayed on the high seas, spending around $3bn out of a global total of $46bn.
美国主导了邮轮业。嘉年华、皇家加勒比和诺唯真这三家邮轮公司控制了全球市场的近80%,它们的总部都在美国。据数据供应商“邮轮市场观察”(Cruise Market Watch)估计,2018年乘坐邮轮的2600万人中,美国人占了一半略多。但中国正在迎头赶上。2013年到2016年间,参加邮轮游的中国游客数量的年复合增长率为70%。2016年,他们的人数超过了德国人,中国因而晋升为全球第二大邮轮客源地。去年有240万中国人在公海上度假,在全球总计460亿美元的邮轮游消费中贡献了30亿美元。

Now the industry is entering choppy waters in China, even as cruise passenger numbers increase almost everywhere else. Chinese passenger numbers dipped by 1-2% in 2018 and are estimated to fall by a further 5-15% this year. What happened?
不过,这个行业在中国进入了一片不平静的水域,即便在几乎其他任何地方邮轮乘客数量都在增长。中国乘客的人数在2018年下降了1%到2%,预计今年还会再减少5%到15%。到底发生了什么?

Cruise lines owed their early success to offering Chinese tourists what they wanted: “floating shopping malls with casinos” in the words of David Beckel of Bernstein, a research firm. At sea they could bypass the country’s strict gambling laws (just as the original American “booze cruises” in the 1920s were a way of getting around Prohibition) and snap up duty-free Western brands. Shops on Royal Carribean and Carnival voyages were regularly stripped bare of everything from Bulgari necklaces to South Korean rice cookers.
邮轮公司早期的成功源自向中国游客提供他们想要的东西,用研究公司盛博的大卫·贝克尔(David Beckel)的话说,就是“带赌场的漂移购物中心”。在海上,他们可以绕过中国严格的赌博法(就像上世纪20年代人们为绕过禁酒令而登上美国最早的“豪饮邮轮”那样),还可抢购西方品牌的免税商品。皇家加勒比和嘉年华邮轮上的商店经常被扫荡一空,从宝格丽项链到韩国电饭煲一件不剩。

No longer, it seems. Chinese tastes are fast becoming more sophisticated, observes Alex Dichter of McKinsey, a consultancy. Surveys suggest that visiting landmarks and shopping have been dethroned as top reasons for travelling. Nowadays taking a break from work to recharge and to experience local cultures tend to be the top of the list. The emphasis is on experiences, not things—like travellers in the West, in other words. Oliver Wyman, a consultancy, found that the share of Chinese holiday spending on shopping fell from 41% in 2016 to 32% by 2018.
现在的情形似乎不复往日。咨询公司麦肯锡的亚历克斯·迪希特(Alex Dichter)认为,中国人的品味正在迅速提高。调查显示,游览标志性景点和购物已不再是中国人出游的首要原因。如今,放下工作为自己充充电和体验当地文化往往是最重要的原因。他们注重的是体验,而不是有形的事物——换句话说,就和西方旅行者一样。咨询公司奥纬(Oliver Wyman)发现,中国人的购物支出在度假总消费中的占比从2016年的41%下降到了2018年的32%。

As a result, cruise lines that have gone too native, or that rely too much on shopping for profits, have suffered. Norwegian launched its first ship built especially for China in 2017, armed with shops, gambling machines, Asian restaurants and a karaoke bar. Two years later, amid disappointing ticket sales, Norwegian spent $50m ripping out all the Chinese fripperies and moved the ship to Alaskan fjords. In 2018 Royal Caribbean scuttled SkySea Cruises, a joint venture with Ctrip, a Chinese online travel agency, when it discovered it could make more money running its own vessels with fewer nods to local taste. Carnival maintains its joint venture with CSSC, a state-owned Chinese firm. One reason might be to appease regulators keen to boost Chinese shipyards’ order books.
结果,那些太过“入乡随俗”或过度依赖购物来盈利的邮轮公司受到了打击。诺唯真于2017年推出了首艘专门为中国打造的邮轮,上面配备了商店、赌博机、亚洲餐厅和一间KTV。船票销量令人失望,两年后诺唯真又花5000万美元拆掉了所有针对中国人的浮夸低俗的设施,把船挪到了阿拉斯加的峡湾。皇家加勒比在2018年关闭了与中国在线旅行社携程的合资企业天海邮轮,因为它发现运营自己的、并未太多迎合地方口味的邮轮可以赚到更多钱。嘉年华仍保留着与中国国有企业中船集团的合资公司,一个原因可能是为安抚急切想要提升中国造船厂订单的监管机构。

Royal Caribbean has found it more lucrative to offer a Western experience at sea at a premium price than to compete against cheap Chinese resorts. It is among the few lines in China that makes money, claims Richard Fain, its executive chairman. It is still adding more ships. On June 6th?Spectrum of the Seas, its newest vessel, embarked on its maiden voyage from Shanghai carrying nearly 5,000 passengers.
皇家加勒比发现,比起与廉价的中国度假村竞争,以高价在海上提供西方体验更有利可图。其执行董事长理查德·费恩(Richard Fain)称,它是在中国少数赚钱的邮轮公司之一。皇家加勒比还在扩大船队。6月6日,其最新的邮轮“海洋光谱号”(Spectrum of the Seas)载着近5000名乘客从上海启动首航。

Mr Fain thinks that the Chinese market will eventually rebound. Analysts at Goldman Sachs, a bank, reckon that just 0.5% of potential passengers in China took a cruise in 2017, compared with over 4% in America. Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, the world’s fourth-largest line, blames regulation. Western lines cannot sail between two Chinese ports. China is thinking about relaxing some of these rules, but only for domestic firms, which are few in number and tiny in size. To grow, they—and their regulators—may need to turn international.
费恩认为中国市场最终会反弹。高盛分析师估计,2017年中国仅有0.5%的潜在乘客乘坐了邮轮,在美国这个数字超过4%。世界第四大邮轮公司地中海邮轮(MSC Cruises)的执行董事长皮尔弗朗西斯科·瓦戈(Pierfrancesco Vago)将这归咎于监管。西方邮轮公司不能在两个中国港口之间航行。中国正考虑放宽这些规则中的一部分,但仅限于对本土企业,它们数量少,规模也小。这些企业若要成长,它们以及监管者可能需要向国际靠拢。

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