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International Cruise Summit 2017

Communicating effectively the positive impact of cruises, sustainability and the rise of new shipowners and boats. Highlights of the International Cruise Summit 2017.

See report in the magazine: CruisesNews

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The seventh edition of the most important cruise congress in Europe brought together more than 400 attendees in Madrid.

The seventh edition of the International Cruise Summit, held on November 29 and 30 in Madrid, succeeded in outshining previous editions and confirmed the importance that this congress has now acquired within the industry. More than 400 attendees met and learned about an industry which continues to grow.

International cruise summit. This is the only forum of global knowledge about the worldwide cruise industry to be held in Europe on an annual basis.

The inauguration of this new edition was given by José Llorca Ortega, President at Spanish State Ports, (who highlighted the importance of the cruise industry for thousands of people working in the ports) together with Manuel Butler, General Director of Turespaña, Marta Blanco, Director General of Tourism of the Community of Madrid, Sabine Schwanz, Director of Travel Trade & Connectivity in Madrid Destino and Virginia López Valiente, CEO of Cruises News Media Group.

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The keynote speech was delivered by the current President of MedCruise, and Commercial Director of Ports of Tenerife, Airam Díaz Pastor. Díaz stressed the importance of maintaining a continuous dialogue with cruise companies to adapt the ports to their needs, as well as the value of developing marketing strategies to persuade Asian tourists to make cruises in Europe.

The international prestige of the event allowed for the participation of shipping companies in their creation phase.

The international prestige of the event allowed for the participation of shipping companies in their creation phase, such as Virgin Voyages, which gave some details of how they are creating an innovative product. In addition, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which will begin the construction of its first luxury mega yacht in Vigo shipyards soon, defined the style and scale of the ports that they seek. This gave the opportunity to those present at the event of contacting the company direct. Many other companies were represented, such as MSC Cruises, which at the same time as inaugurating its new ship in Trieste, announced another order to shipyards, which goes to swell the long list of more than 90 ships under construction between now and 2026.

Airam Díaz Pastor, President of MedCruise and Commercial Director of Ports of Tenerife, stressed the importance of maintaining a continuous dialogue with cruise companies to adapt the ports to their needs.

Virginia López, CEO of Cruises News Media Group, interviewed Edie Rodríguez, Americas Brand Chairman and Corporate Special Advisor of the luxury shipping company Ponant, who declared her passion for Europe in general and Spain in particular. Rodríguez defined luxury as an experience where all the small details have been pampered, and whose concept has varied ostensibly in the last 20 years. The real luxury is in small boats visiting boutique ports and exploring exotic destinations such as the polar regions.

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The growing discomfort in some cities due to the supposed tourist overcrowding derived from cruise ships was raised in many of the debates during the congress. Belén Wangüemert, Associate Vice President and Managing Director Eurozone of Royal Caribbean Cruises noted that less than 1% of tourists visiting Barcelona come from cruise ships, and they are highly visible and easily identifiable. The geopolitical conflicts in North Africa and Turkey have increased the pressure on the remaining Mediterranean ports but adequate infrastructures planned with sustainability criteria and a greater variety of itineraries could mitigate this growing burden.

The cruise industry is far ahead of other sectors in environmental responsibility. Therefore, many of the ships that will be built in the coming years will use Liquefied Natural Gas, a clean fuel, and most of today’s large ships have already installed or have plans to install gas treatment plants. However, the idea persists that cruises are large pollutants when, according to data provided by Santiago García-Milá, Deputy Director of Strategy and Commercial of the Port of Barcelona, only 0.23% of the particles of matter that are in the air of the city come from cruises. There was a general consensus that communication should be improved, both to local communities and to the press, highlighting the benefits of cruises in economic terms, employment, production, and tourism revitalization.

More than 400 attendees met and learned about an industry which continues to grow.

Costa Cruises, the Port of Tarragona and the Tourist Board of the Provincial Council of Tarragona presented their study of success, where, after proper planning, and with the teamwork of both institutions as well as the local community, it was possible to pass from 3 stopovers in 2013 to 39 stopovers and 51,390 passengers in 2017, with a forecast for next year of 80,000 passengers.

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This seventh edition has allowed us to continue strengthening the image of Spain as the second European tourist destination for cruise ships and Madrid as the venue for the main international congresses. In addition, Spain has consolidated its position as a reference in the sector for its infrastructure, variety of destinations with cultural immersions and / or leisure for all tastes. The economic impact of this tourist industry in Spain is more than 1,300 million euros and 28,000 jobs.

This seventh edition has allowed us to continue strengthening the image of Spain as the second European tourist destination for cruise ships.

This latest edition of the International Cruise Summit has also stood out for the multitude of opportunities that the delegates had to be able to interact with the speakers in the round tables, in the presentations and in the networking opportunities in an environment that improves year after year.

James Stevens, wins “Master ICS Award 2017“
During the International Cruise Summit 2017 in Madrid the first MASTER ICS AWARD, was presented. Delegates were quizzed on a whole series of strategic questions related to the cruise industry during the congress. Participation was not compulsory but a great many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to test their skills.  A trophy was awarded to the person who answered the greatest number of questions correctly.

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Mr. James O. Stevens Zoontjens, Commercial Manager of CEMESA, won the trophy after a dramatic triple tie was resolved with a special tie-breaking question.

Stevens has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Navigation (2005) and has served as a Spanish Merchant Navy Captain (2013). He gained experience as merchant navy officer and skipper, before joining the CEMESA team as Luggage Operations Manager, where he has spent the last 12 years. Recently he has been appointed as Commercial Manager of the company, dedicated to marine services like mooring, pneumatic fenders, medical and legal services, as well all other auxiliary services and luggage management.

He is currently taking an MBA at the “Escuela de Negocios Europea de Barcelona” (ENEB) where he lives.

“It was a really productive conference where I learned a lot, and to win this award is a great honour, particularly in view of the high level of the attendees who took part”, said Stevens.

Session 4
Elisabetta de Nardo explained how everyone thinks that their work is full of glamor and “executive style”, traveling to nice places, sleeping in good hotels and having lunch in good restaurants, but, most of the time, it means sleeping on uncomfortable airplanes and without lunch time. It is a strenuous job that requires a clear method and an accurate idea of what the needs are for her company.

 

CONCLUSIONS SESSION 1 – CHECKING THE PULSE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY
• Moderator: Olga Piqueras, Managing Director INTERCRUISES SHORESIDE & PORT SERVICES
• Craig Milan, Vice President Itineraries and Destinations VIRGIN VOYAGES
• Giuseppe Carino, Vice President Guest Experience & Onboard Revenue COSTA CROCIERE
• Doug Prothero, Managing Director THE RITZ-CARLTON YACHT COLLECTION
• Benoit Perrin, CFO PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Christian Boell, Managing Director Europe NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

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“We are living in the “golden age” of expedition and river cruises.”

• Cruise industry expanding – new vessels, new products, new brands.
• At the end the day we need to covert the market into cruise passengers. The vessels need to be filled.
• Marquee ports and destinations will continue to lead itinerary planning but tourism boards can play their role in assisting smaller and medium ports and destinations to be more visible by making them known to the market.
• Communication and marketing directly to the markets is key.
• Costa is reducing food waste working with Winnow, a technology company that gives chefs and their staff with creative ways to run a more efficient operation.
• In addition Costa works with Banco Alimentare to distribute left over food to the needy.
• Cruise line private islands is a way to avoid congestion.
• We need to clarify how we all work together. It is not sufficient to say that we need to work together.
• If ports are making long term agreements with cruise lines, do not exceed 18-24 months.

• Ritz Carlton will differentiate themselves by offering the destinations visited from a yacht “slow” experience.
• Virgin passengers are called “sailors”.
• We are living in the “golden age” of expedition and river cruises.
• Costa’s first season offering ex-India sailings, ‘a great success both for European and locally-sourced passengers and will be repeated next year.

 

CONCLUSIONS SESSION 2 – SALES & PASSENGERS SOURCING – CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS IN EUROPE
• Moderator: Mark Robinson, Cruise Industry Expert
• Tine Nathalie Oelmann, Dir. Port Operations, Shore Excursions & Ground Operations TUI CRUISES
• Ana Karina Santini, Commercial Director Development EMEA ROYAL CARIBBEAN
• Javier Marín, Director Itinerary Planning, Full Charter & Charter Flights PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Mike Hall, Head of Marketing CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES
• Valerie Conan, Cruise Director LE HAVRE TOURISM
• Jacqui Nobile, Port & Shore Excursions Operations Manager MARELLA CRUISES – TUI GROUP

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“The need for individuality should not be considered a challenge for cruise lines but an opportunity to create new options and more revenue opportunities.”

• The consumer is evolving. The internet is playing a crucial role in the way we think and buy.
• There are different brands and demographics but there are common behaviour patterns according to their age groups and how tech savvy they are.
• “Smart” use of social media to communicate the cruise product to the passenger markets – it needs to be strategic.
• This does not only apply to cruise lines – destinations can also do it by aligning all tourist sectors that they want to attract.
• During the last 18 months CMV has developed an advertising strategy on Facebook and for £1,000 spent it is giving them £50,000 ROI.
• Le Havre is no longer the “cruise gateway to Paris” – it is a destination in its own right.
• British lines are interested in sailing out of the UK ports – convenient for their source market.
• 57% of Germans travel more than 5 days and spend around 1,066€ (2016).
• German cruise passengers are willing to pay 1,200 euros for a weekly cruise.
• Since 2010: more childless couples than single parents / couples with children in Germany.
• Studies show in 2025 over 33m Germans will be over 50 years old. The family target group is decreasing so cruise lines need to adapt to this changing demographic.
• Prognosis: in 2025 more than 33 m Germans are over 50 & pensioners (Total wealth of the new senior citizens makes up billions of Euro).• The markets / passenger are changing. The need for individuality should not be considered a challenge for cruise lines but an opportunity to create new options and more revenue opportunities.
• Marella, CMV and Pullmantur are investing in refurbishing existing tonnage which works well for their target groups. At this stage they do not consider new builds.

 

CONCLUSIONS SESSION 3 – MARKET TRENDS IMPACTING ON THE FUTURE OF CRUISE PORTS
• Moderator: Chris Ashcroft, Managing Director CRUISE INSIGHT
• Mark Ittel, Partner / Senior Vice President, Ports & Maritime BERMELLO AJAMIL & PARTNERS
• Ramón Hurtado, Global Product & Operations Mgr. INTERCRUISES SHORESIDE & PORT SERVICES
• Christopher Windsor-Price, Marine Operations Director MARELLA CRUISES
• Maite Casas, Senior Manager Port Operations & Ground Handling PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Miguel A. Reyna, Director, Commercial Development ROYAL CARIBBEAN
• Fernando Muñoz, Commercial Director PORT OF CARTAGENA
• Barbara Buczek, Director Corporate Development & Operational Businesses PORT OF DOVER

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“It is important for the destinations that consider capping cruises to also cap other tourist sectors as the congestion issue will not go away only by targeting cruise.”

• The cruise industry is not considered to be the primary cause of over tourism.
• Some ports can consider capping cruise visitation to avoid congestion of destinations.
• While Clia needs to do more to communicate the “good news” on economic impacts from cruises to the destinations and advances on environment / emissions initiatives it is also the responsibility of the ports and destinations to ask for the info and do it themselves to their local stakeholders.
• Politicians react to the news, so we need to change the news and perception of cruises to a positive one.
• Ultimately it is the responsibility of everyone that works in the cruise industry to put “good news” out to reduce the impact the bad media reports (most based on unfounded data).
• Shore power is not a viable option for the industry in Europe. LNG is the way forward.
• It is important for the destinations that consider capping cruises to also cap other tourist sectors as the congestion issue will not go away only by targeting cruise.
• Important to consider that the European population takes holidays in July and August (and go to many of the marquee places that cruise lines visit), so cruise lines need to take that into account when planning summer itineraries.
• Cruising as a business is still almost insignificant for ports in terms of revenue, even sometimes losing money. The impact is for the destinations. Why are not the destinations investing in the cruise business instead of the ports?
• Eventually it will be the cruise lines that need to sell themselves to the ports / destinations (reversal of the coin from the current scenario).

 

CONCLUSIONS SESSION 5 – DESTINATION PLANNING & SUSTAINABILITY
• Moderator: Antonio Peña, Director JSF TRAVEL & TOURISM SCHOOL
• Santiago Garcia-Milá, Deputy General Manager Estrategy & Commercial BARCELONA PORT
• Emma Kjartansdóttir, Board Member CRUISE ICELAND
• Marta Martin, VP Corporate Responsibility & Internal Communication NH HOTEL GROUP
• Monica Frisk, Operating Manager GOTLAND TOURISM BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
• Maribel Rodriguez, Regional Director Europe & Latam WORLD TRAVEL & TOURISM COUNCIL

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Ports and destinations to create a local group (tourism task force) to discuss tourism issues in general (where cruising is just one of the components).”

• Port and destinations need to manage communications to the industry about themselves.
• Tourism congestion; let’s start to think that we are part of the solution not of the problem.
• Most of the destinations that are experiencing over tourism never had a joint long term tourism development. It was all about selling selling selling without any realistic plans on how to manage the tourist and community experience when these tourists came.
• A destination needs an integrated tourism plan when port, city, regional government, private investors, community and business are all represented.
• Destinations like Visby are working on a code of conduct for tourists.
• Ports and destinations to create a local group (tourism task force) to discuss tourism issues in general (where cruising is just one of the components).
• While it is important to understand what other regions are doing, each port and destination still needs to find its own set of best practise / guidelines to manage tourism.
• We as an industry have a PR issue – basically we do not do PR or when done it is for ourselves. We preach to the converted.
• Barcelona university did a study a few years ago which showed that:
• Out of the annual 30 million annual tourists to Barcelona only 4% (1,2 mil) are cruisers.
• Cruise creates 7,000 direct and indirect jobs in the city.
• The emission of NOX is 1,2% and particle matter is 0,3% (very low numbers compared to the other polluting industries).
• These studies and results need to be shared with the community and media (international as well), as we only hear the bad news from cruise / Barcelona.

 

CONCLUSIONS SESSION 6 – ALL NEW: TRENDS, CONCEPTS, PRODUCTS, VESSELS AND CRUISE LINES
• Moderator: Frances Gannon, Editor CRUISETIMES
• Emilio R. Freeman, Vice President Itineraries and Ports RITZ CARLTON YACHT COLLECTION
• Craig Milan, Vice President Itineraries and Destinations VIRGIN VOYAGES
• Elisabetta de Nardo, Vice President Port & Destinations Operations SILVERSEA CRUISES
• Ana Fernández, Marketing Director PULLMANTUR CRUISES
• Jacqui Nobile, Port & Shore Excursions Operations Manager MARELLA CRUISES – TUI GROUP
• Edie Rodriguez, Americas Brand Chairman and Corporate Special Advisor PONANT

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“While passengers will want to visit marquee ports; there is an opportunity to visit smaller ports and destinations which can fit the luxury line and passenger profile.”

• Launching a new brand is a challenge – there is a certain beauty in developing a product from the ground up.
• Ritz Carlton is slowing the pace of cruising. Their product will reflect the existing high-end clientele of Ritz.
• Virgin relies on Richard Branson’s brand and ideals. For example, no animal-related tour options will be included on shorex.
• Virgin is taking 500USD deposits for cruises from passengers with great weath.
• Virgin will be about the details. For example, real cream and dietary sweeteners are available when taking your coffee; on their hotels the mini bar prices are the same as the closest 7/11.
• Luxury lines / small vessels want to be closer to the city and will offer more flexibility on the time spent in port.
• Ponant is targeting the US market offering a French quality product on board.
• While passengers will want to visit marquee ports; there is an opportunity to visit smaller ports and destinations which can fit the luxury line and passenger profile.
• Destinations are and will remain the key part of the cruise line product presentation.
• Destinations and cruise lines can learn from each other and grow together in a sustainable way.
• Cruising is about the experience of the passenger and we should all focus on how we can improve our contribution to ensure that this experience keeps getting better and better.

 

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