CRUISE passenger numbers in 2015 are expected to rise to around 230,000 this year in local ports.
Last year around 138,000 foreign visitors to the Murcia Region arrived by cruise ship at Cartagena, representing approximately a sixth of all tourists from abroad. The president of the Cartagena Port Authority, Antonio Sevilla, hopes that this year the figure will rise to around 150,000, further boosting the local economy.
This year, there are at present 102 confirmed visits to the city by cruise ships. This is seven less than last year but the ships are bigger, bringing more passengers, and one cruise liner has already confirmed a stay in Cartagena of three days.
Most of the visitors on ships are British, with UK tourists accounting for 63 per cent of last year’s total, followed by Americans at 20 per cent and Germans (9 per cent).
Alicante Port plans to double the number of their cruise passengers to reach 88,000 this year.
The new chairman of the Port Authority, Juan Ferrer, is hopeful of the increase, citing last year’s total of 34,583 passengers disembarking in the city’s port, arriving on 29 cruise ships. With 49 liners planned this year, the city is positive it could double the number of visitors.
Ferrer explained that measures had been taken to promote Alicante Port as a cruise destination with lower port tariffs and doubling of efforts in the services provided, including an expansion in the range of excursions available on land. He added that Alicante has the advantage of being able to serve the largest ships in the world.
Tourists arriving on cruise ships spend an estimated €75 per person per day, with tourists being predominantly British, as in Cartagena.