Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator, will bring its Carnival and Aida lines to China in 2017, doubling the number of brands it offers in one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism markets.

The two lines will enter the Chinese market starting that year, Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said Tuesday on Bloomberg Television [he told Skift this in an interview late last month]. The company’s Costa division entered China in 2006 and Princess Cruises started sailing there last year.

Carnival and rivals including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have been racing to serve the Chinese market, where a growing middle class creates a natural fit for the cruise business. Royal Caribbean said in March it would have five ships sailing in the region next year, including one its newest vessels, the Ovation of the Seas.

“We are at the very beginning of an industry, of building this market,” Donald said. “In the long term, this will probably be the world’s largest cruise market.”

Six of Miami-based Carnival’s ships will take passengers in the region next year, up from four in 2014, Donald said. Carnival expects to welcome more than 500,000 passengers in China this year, a 43 percent increase from 2014, according to the company.

The company is also considering building ships in China.

Carnival carried 10.6 million passengers worldwide in fiscal 2014, according to a statement.

Shares of Carnival rose 2 percent to $50.36 Monday in New York. They are up 11 percent this year.

This article was written by Christopher Palmeri from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: The Aida Bella. Carnival is doubling its operations in China I've the next two years. konqui / Flickr