The Institutional Cruise Committee takes stock of 2023 and is already preparing the 2024 season – Tarragona

The Institutional Cruise Committee takes stock of 2023 and is already preparing the 2024 season - Tarragona  (Image at - December 2023)This Thursday December 14 the institutional and business representatives who are part of the Institutional Cruise Committee met at the Leisure and Tourism Science and Technology Park of Catalonia in Vila-Seca.

The aim of the meeting was to analyse the results of the 2023 season, to work on the 2024 season and to continue with preparations to organise the international MedCruise sector meeting scheduled for June 2024 in Tarragona.

The 2023 season ended with 57 calls and 115,209 passengers and an economic impact of €15,257,000 on the city during 2023. The 2024 season is expected to see 58 calls and 122,000 passengers. New for next year will be the consolidation of Tarragona as part of the MSC Cruises itinerary that in 2023 docked in our port on Sundays. In 2024, the MSC cruise liners will arrive on Fridays and make a total of 28 calls between April 19 and October 26. It is also expected that the new Global Ports Holding cruise terminal on Balears Wharf will come into operation in May 2024.

The meeting of the Institutional Cruise Committee was attended by Noemí Llauradó, President of the Tarragona Provincial Government and Deputy Mayor of Reus Town Council; Rubén Viñuales, Mayor of Tarragona; Pere Segura, Mayor of Vila-seca; Lluïsa Clavé, Vila-seca Councillor for Tourism; Laura Roigé, President of the Tarragona Chamber of Commerce; Alba Colet, Marketing Manager of Global Ports Tarragona; Xavier Jornet, President of the Tarragona Hospitality Business Association (AEHT); Mònica Conesa, DMC & In-Destination Port Aventura Sales Manager; Oscar Saladié, professor at the Rovira i Virgili University (URV); Xavier Guardià, representative of the Business Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Tarragona (FEHT); Anna Martínez, Deputy Director General of Tourism Planning and Inspection; Cristina Pedret, Technical Manager of Reus Town Council; Genoveva Climent, Tarragona Port Authority (TPA) Marketing and Business Development Manager and the TPA president, Saül Garreta.

The meeting’s agenda addressed the closing data for the 2023 season, a forecast for the 2024 season, the organisation of the 64th MedCruise Assembly in June 2024 in Tarragona,
and an update on the status of work on the new terminal.

2023 Season Balance

The year 2023 ended with a total of 57 calls and 115,209 passengers, which represents a 79% increase in passengers over 2022. October saw the highest monthly volume of cruise passengers in the year and in the history of cruises in Tarragona, exceeding 24,000 people.

In 2023, MSC included Tarragona on a fixed itinerary, calling at Tarragona every Sunday from May to October. It should also be noted that of the 57 calls, operational passenger boarding and disembarking (start/end of cruise) was carried in 41 of them, seven of which were the start and end of the cruise for all the passengers. The rest were partial operations

Finally, according to the data presented to the representatives of the Cruise Committee, the economic impact of cruises in Tarragona during 2023 was €15,257,000.

Survey and ratings

As is customary and, in order to gauge the opinion of the passengers, a survey and analysis of the season’s data was undertaken. The study revealed that the main nationality of the passengers was Spanish (31%), followed by Italian (26%), French (9%), American (8%), German (5%), English (4%) and other nationalities (17%).

In terms of cruise passenger activity, the survey told us that 81% chose to visit the region independently, 7% took organised excursions of the province of Tarragona, 4% opted for guided tours of the city and 4% decided to visit Barcelona. Among the excursions most requested by cruise passengers were tours of the city of Tarragona itself (51%), Port Aventura (20%) and Poblet and its surroundings (20%), while the remainder was divided into visits to beaches, wineries and the town of Reus.

Cruise passengers rated their visit to Tarragona at 8.9, the same evaluation as in 2022. It should be noted that 54% declared that Tarragona exceeded their expectations, a higher figure than the 41.5% of 2022. In the opinion of the Institutional Cruise Committee “these data are a sign of the successful work undertaken to date, surpassing assessments from previous years and showing the positive perception visitors have of the Tarragona region”.

Predictions for the 2024 season

The forecast for the 2024 season is for 58 calls and 122,000 passengers. The new development for next year is the consolidation of Tarragona as part of the MSC Cruises itinerary that this year arrived in our port on Sundays. In 2024, between April 19 and October 26, the MSC Fantasia will dock in Port Tarragona on Fridays, with a planned total of 28 calls.

The Committee has also been working on prolonging the cruise season and it is expected that next season it will continue into November.

There has been a consolidation of the cruise ship companies calling at Tarragona and it is expected that six new cruise liners will call at our port for the first time, in other words, vessels that have never visited Tarragona before.

A further innovation for 2024 will be the inauguration in May of the new Global Ports Holding cruise terminal on the Balears Wharf. This sustainable, state-of-the-art terminal will then become operational.

Tarragona, venue of the 64th MedCruise Assembly 2024

The 64th edition of the MedCruise Assembly will be held in Tarragona from 11 – 14 June 2024 in what will be a major event in the cruise sector and a great opportunity for the Port of Tarragona and the region to position itself as a tourist destination. All the members of the Institutional Cruise Committee are working on being able to present their attractions and quality standards to the entire community represented at the assembly. The aim is to consolidate their businesses internationally, while generating synergies with other Mediterranean ports. The MedCruise Assembly is the event of the association of Mediterranean cruise ports that brings together the different actors related to the cruise activity, including cruise companies, port agents, tourism boards and firms linked to the industry.

The Cruise Committee Commitment

Cruise activity in Tarragona is a project with its own personality and organisation. It differs from other models in the Mediterranean in that it is a model developed in consensus with the institutional, administrative and business representatives of the Camp de Tarragona and Costa Daurada region. The Institutional Cruise Committee is the collaborative area in which institutions, administrations, companies and universities cooperate to develop a sustainable cruise model.

As a project it is also characterised by a constant effort to diversify passenger visits throughout the territory to avoid concentrations in a single destination or town and avoid incurring the effects of overcrowding that other destinations suffer from. Therefore, from the outset when the tourist destination is marketed and local tours are offered, cruise passengers have a choice of multiple destinations that cover the whole Camp de Tarragona and Terres de l’Ebre area, including the Conca de Barberà, Priorat, the Ebro region and the towns of Tarragona, Reus and Vila-seca.

(The Institutional Cruise Committee takes stock of 2023 and is already preparing the 2024 season – Tarragona) (MedCruise)