Good news from cruises. In the last two years the sector has returned to full speed ahead after the voluntary break in March 2020 due to Covid. Already last year 100% of the fleet had returned to sea and this year it is fully operational, with the addition of new ships.
So much so that Clia, the international association of the cruise sector, estimates for 2023 a total number of passengers in the world equal to 33 million, while in 2022 they had been more than 20 million. «Passenger numbers for 2023 and opinion polls tell us that the sector’s ability to innovate, diversify the offer and become more sustainable (zero carbon emission ships by 2050, ed) is giving good results and we can be optimistic for the future», confirms Marie-Caroline Laurent, general manager of Clia Europe. According to an international survey, the “desire for cruises” continues to grow. 85% of those who have been on a cruise say they want to do it again and 73% of those who have never done it consider the option favorably. Within both categories, 71% consider it “probable” or “very likely” to board in the next two years.
The number of European passengers is also growing: 5.8 million in 2022 (+228% on 2021), with the main destinations being the Mediterranean (38.4%), Northern Europe (29%) and the Caribbean (10.6%) . Among the inhabitants of the Old Continent, Italy is confirmed as the favorite destination. As regards the countries of origin of cruise passengers, Italy is in third position after Germany (1.9 million passengers, 33% of the continental market) and the United Kingdom and Ireland (1.7 million, 28% of the total). There are 800,000 Italians, 14% of European cruise passengers, up 247% compared to 2021, and ever closer to the 950,000 in 2019, a figure that should be exceeded this year. There is another interesting fact: Italian cruise passengers are those with the youngest average age: they are in fact 40 years and 7 months old, against 47 and a half years for the Germans and 55 years and 8 months for the British.
In the Mediterranean, Italy is the most popular destination. According to Cemar Agency Network, in 2023 approximately 12.8 million passengers will be handled in the ports of the Peninsula (+37.6% compared to 2022 and + 9.2% compared to 2019). The Venice problem remains, which in 2021 saw the blockage of the passage of cruise ships in the Giudecca canal. This year the Port Authority forecast around 500,000 passengers, with the widespread landings of Marghera and Fusina, plus (perhaps) moorings at roadsteads and the transshipment of motor vessels. A growth of 127.3% for the Risposte Turismo observatory, which will come from 243 ship calls.
Obviously, there is an impasse, if we consider that Venice handled 1.6 million cruise passengers before the blockade. The president of Federagenti, Alessandro Santi, speaks of a domino effect on all the ports of the Adriatic, because “the collapse of over a million passengers on Venice has only been mitigated to a small extent by the other ports”. And if he stigmatizes “the inability of the past government to make decisions consistent with the need to safeguard the environment, but also the economic fabric of entire territories”, he underlines a sobering phenomenon: “The flight of cruise passengers has triggered their replacement through an out-of-control growth of low-cost tourism, which in the case of Venice is dramatically highlighting the fragility of the city». —
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