Cruise ships returning to Turkey

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS -

Cruise companies, which had removed Turkey from their travel routes for security reasons, are finally returning to Turkish waters. MSC Turkey’s Coordinato­r, Savas Ercan, announced that the cruise company will add Izmir and Antalya to their routes in 2019. “Turkey is an indispensa­ble country,” industry giants participat­ing in the Seatrade Cruise Global fair at the beginning of March in Fort Lauderdale, USA, noted. NCL Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it will visit Kusadasi Port two times in the 2018 season and five times in 2019. The Holland American Line included Turkey in their 2020 plans. Yusuf Ozturk, Chamber of Shipping (DTO) Izmir Branch President, who coordinate­d the Turkey booth with the Turkish Embassy in Washington, said that other companies will also include Turkey in their future routes. Hopeful news was received for the 2018 season and beyond at the fair, he added.

“Last year we signed an agreement to make Miami Port, the most popular cruise port in the world, the sister port of Izmir,” Ozturk said. “We value this agreement for informatio­n transfer and promotion. The incentives by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for cruise tourism has also helped us. Cruises provide both income for cities and contribute to the promotion of the country. As a result of our efforts, we believe that from 2020 onwards we will draw cruise ships back to Turkish ports.”

Largest decl ne n the last four years

According to Cruise Lines Internatio­nal, about 450 luxury ships worldwide carry about 25 million passengers a year. The total spending of these passengers approaches $42 billion. The biggest destinatio­ns in the sector are the port cities of Mediterran­ean countries and the Caribbean. The rapid growth of China and Australia in recent years is also remarkable. Currently there are 27 cruise ships scheduled to debut at shipyards globally. This year, the number of cruise passengers is expected to rise to 27.2 million.

With new destinatio­ns being added to global cruise tourism and the regional strains in the eastern Mediterran­ean, the Far East and Australia have come to the fore in the market while the Mediterran­ean market has experience­d a contractio­n. Thus the number of cruise passengers arriving in Turkey showed its largest decline over the past four years. The number of passengers visiting Turkish ports had reached 2.24 million in 2013 but then declined to 628,000 in 2016 and 306,000 by 2017. The number of cruise ships entering Turkish ports also declined to 590 in 2016 and 311 in 2017 from a peak of 1,542 in 2013. The daily expenditur­e of cruise passengers coming to Turkey can range from $70 up to $300.

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