Capital of the Mediterranean cruise lines

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It makes of a lot of sense to hold an international event for cruises in Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia has positioned itself as one of the world’s great centres for this type of tourism, only surpassed by Miami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral, which are all in the Caribbean.

Seatrade Med is the largest event specialised in the world’s second most popular cruise destination: the Mediterranean. More than 4,000 professionals and 200 exhibitors who provide services for the Mediterranean cruise market await their biennial meeting between the 16th and the 18th of September at the Gran Via site of Fira de Barcelona.

28-02-02The suppliers range from shipbuilders or companies specialised in navigation systems, to interior decorators, suppliers of hotel equipment, leisure activities, restaurants, communications technology, insurers and others, without overlooking the fact that cruises are only one part of a wider network of tourism and communications. This is why it is not only the cruise lines and operators who come to Seatrade Med, but also tourism officials, hotels, airlines, ports and airports.

Planning the future

This edition of Seatrade Med will focus on the future of the cruise market in the Mediterranean as one of its main concerns. The growing worldwide popularity of Mediterranean cruises – in the American market, but also in Russia, China, and others – presents a challenge for the ports belonging to the fragile economies of the Southern European states for them to balance their strategic options and development against the danger of sacrificing the charm of Mare Nostrum.

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The option of cruise holidays was growing in popularity in Spain by over 20% a year prior to the onset of the financial crisis. Only 90,000 Spaniards chose a cruise as their holiday option in 2000, but by 2010 this number had grown to 700,000. All around the world, this kind of growth seems unstoppable.

300 million

Barcelona snatched European leadership from Genoa some time ago, and welcomed 3.6 million travellers in 2013. Most of the routes that pass through the city (58% to be precise) are cruises that start or end their route in the capital of Catalonia, which is a further boost for the airport of El Prat. According to Turisme de Barcelona, the financial impact of cruise holidaymakers on the city is around 300 million euros per year.

Reasons to take a cruise holiday

  • All in. The price includes all the cost of food and accommodation, as well as activities and excursions (swimming pools, shows, spa, casino, discotheque, sport and children’s activities,…).
  • Comfort. Many passengers describe their cruises as an ideal way to travel in comfort, and as relatively cheap, considering everything on offer. They often mention the advantage of only having to pack and unpack once in the whole journey. Onboard activities and entertainment make it suitable for families with young children.
  • A lot in a short time. Albeit briefly, a cruise allows you to visit different cities and landscapes in a short period of time (a week, 10 or 12 days) whether it is the Mediterranean, Caribbean or the North of Europe. Besides the trips on land, the views from the sea are an added attraction.
  • Meeting people. A cruise is an ideal place to get to know other people, and they are often have similar tastes: people who enjoy travelling, either together with their family or single, and those who want to meet a partner…
  • Doing whatever you want. A cruise is an opportunity to do exactly what you want to do . Relax, go on trips on land or take part in activities and events. From dance classes, fitness or yoga to cookery classes and wine tasting, shows…

R.P.
*Photos courtesy of Port de Barcelona / Jordi Domingo