A recent study by Valencia’s Polytechnic University provides an interesting insight into the financial impact of Valencia’s cruising tourism…
A study conducted by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) on behalf of the Valenciaport Foundation provided some answers to the question of whether cruising tourism in Valencia is worth the trouble, and how much money Valencia actually makes from cruisers.
The most recent full figures date from 2017, so the study was conducted using this information. According to the report, in 2017 Valencia made €56m from cruise tourism. In that year, some 383,000 tourists arrived by cruise ship, accounting for nearly 20% of total visitors to Valencia.
In 2019, this figure rose to 435,000 out of 2.2 million visitors, accounting for roughly 20% of the total. It’s fair to estimate, then, that Valencia lost approximately €65 million in cruise ship tourism last year alone as a direct result of the pandemic.
Direct sales accounted for only half of the total in 2017. The passengers spent €17.5m of the €56m made in 2017, the companies that make cruise tourism possible (port authority, tour operators, terminal, tugboats) spent €7.2m, and crews spent €0.6m.
The average cruise ship visitor is 52 years old, from Europe, spends approximately €146 during his 4.1 hour stay, spending mostly in Valencian restaurants and at crafts shops, analysis of passenger profiles shows.
The majority of passengers came from Europe, with Italy accounting for 19.3%, Germany for 19%, UK 17.9%, and France 10.6%. Tourists from the United States accounted for 10.2% of all visitors, the highest percentage of any non-European country on the list.
Cruise ship activity generates 637 jobs in the city’s economic sectors, primarily in hospitality, commerce, transportation, and cultural and recreational services, the study points out.
Despite the current halt in cruise activity, Valencia’s Port Authority is collaborating with the sector (shipping companies, tour operators, and public institutions) to develop “safe tourism”. It is a set of measures with strict security protocols and new routes designed specifically for the pandemic era, meaning the possible return of cruise tourism.
The most intriguing proposal is the development of a so-called “bubble” excursion system, which will offer only guided excursions, with no option for passengers to travel to the destination on their own. Tourists will also be divided into much smaller groups, and activities will be focused primarily on outdoor spaces.
Valenciaport is also preparing for the new season. The passenger terminal has been expanded to accommodate both regular ferry lines and cruise ships. The new project incorporates many environmental improvements proposed by Valencia City Council, including its own renewable generation of 100% of the electrical energy required for operation. One of the most substantial changes will be a significant reduction in noise because all berthing lines will be equipped with electrical connections to vessels, allowing them to shut down their engines while docking, meaning zero shoreline emissions while visiting Valencia.
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