THE first steps towards making Torrevieja a major force in marine tourism took a step forward in December with the creation of a ‘Club of Nautical Tourism Products’.
One can define a Product Club as the union of a set of companies that seek to generate a global offer, a unique and distinctive tourism product, in this case, nautical tourism.
Since October 2011, Torrevieja’s Department of Tourism has held several meetings with all of the private companies involved in the local marine industry.
This was in order to develop a tourism strategy, the end result being the launch of this club. A total of nine sectors are signed up and using the formula of public-private partnership, resulting in a total of 33 marine products for the city, that have been structured according to the producer, cost, season of the year and so on.
These products provide consumer access to nautical tourism, with products such as a “Camino de Santiago by the Sea”, offering intensive courses for marine training, participation in racing events, for visiting guests and with competitions, such as fishing and sailing, all activities that the Club looks upon as very attractive for potential tourism marketing in Torrevieja.
At the moment the members of this Product Club are: Real Club Náutico de Torrevieja, Puerto Deportivo Marina Internacional, Club Náutico Marina Internacional, Marina Salinas de Torrevieja, Marítimas Torrevieja, Escuela de Vela “La Escandalosa”, Nautimed, Odisea Diving, Torrevieja Sub and the Department of Tourism of the Municipality of Torrevieja.
One of the other projects that was announced in last year’s election campaign by Eduardo Dolon was the provision of a Cruise Ship dock and should this go ahead, this incentive will act as an attraction for Cruise lines to possibly bring a Cruise Ship to the City.
In terms of cruise traffic, for the Port of Alicante through November, 2011, 111,141 cruise passengers passed through the passenger terminal, their highest numbers in record with even higher occupancy rates estimated for 2012.
This represents an increase of 46.41 per cent compared to 75,795 passengers in 2010 and 15.62 per cent rise over 2009, when it came to pass 96,615 passengers through the port. Cruise specialist Keith McMillan from Cruise Ideas commented ‘Torrevieja is in a great location to be attraction for Cruise lines.
To the south is Cartagena, which primarily only has a couple of museums and archaeological sites; Almeria, which has very little to offer the typical cruise passenger and then Alicante, where their Cruise Terminal and organisation is years behind what one finds in the USA, any major Caribbean port or the Mediterranean’s busiest, port Barcelona.
The challenge for Torrevieja will be to build a team with knowledge of the cruise business, which they presently do not have!”
There are other business’s that have seen the potential of the marine sector in Torrevieja. Local businessman Peter Anthony continues, “We have worked with International businesses in the area but they are cautious of bringing the ideas to Valencia or Torrevieja governments due to uncertainties of these ideas will then be put out to tender for others to profit from.
Their fear is that such propositions would be awarded to Spanish companies even though these companies might have no idea of how to operate such business centres! Unfortunately, that is the reputation that Spain has in this sector.”
The Nautical Product Club is another positive in the future of Tourism in Torrevieja.
These nine major business centres have seen the opportunities that can arise from working together and it’s expected that others will follow suit.
By Keith Nicol