Representatives of Valletta Cruise Port and the Malta Tourism Authority along with other local stakeholders have successfully participated at the Seatrade Cruise Global 2019, held in Miami, USA. This is the cruise industry’s main showcase, bringing together over 11,000 professionals including senior executives of cruise companies, tour operators, port agents, destinations, travel agents, press, suppliers and key influencers in the cruise industry.
Valletta Cruise Port, a subsidiary of Global Ports Holding, had the opportunity to meet industry professionals and discuss future prospects. According to figures shared by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) 28.5 million guests cruised in 2018, a 7% increase over 2017, with the Mediterranean region moving up in popularity by 8% from 2017 to 2018 in terms of sailings. In 2018 Valletta handled 3% of total passenger movements in the Mediterranean at 711,000 passenger movements: furthermore, Valletta processed 3% of total transit figures, and 2% of homeport figures.
2019 is foreseen to be another positive year for the Mediterranean region with 17.3% of ship deployment being in the Mediterranean region. This is reflected in Valletta Cruise Port’s projections for the year, with the port expecting to exceed previous records and projecting to handle over 800,000 passenger movements. The upcoming season in Valletta will be characterised by number of ‘cruise and fly’ operations on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays by P&O Cruises and TUI Cruises, also with a number of partial turnarounds during other days by MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises.
During the event, representatives of Valletta Cruise Port were presented with a 2019 Cruise Insight Award. Valletta Cruise Port has teamed up with Smarter Car Rentals, a young company established in 2018 to encourage greener, zero-emission eco-tours around Malta – a fun, environmentally-friendly option which is both comfortable and affordable. This initiative was one of the seven chosen by a panel of industry professionals from a list of worldwide projects. In their deliberations the panel considered entries that show innovative thinking, set an example for others by benefitting the industry and the community as much as the port or the destination, and are sustainable in planning.
‘We are very excited to be receiving this award. As a port and destination, we believe that passenger experience is paramount to success, and for this we seek to innovate and ensure that our product and service offer remains fresh and exciting. Indeed, excellent passenger satisfaction ratings and recognition for Valletta’s port services and the destination were repeatedly highlighted across all levels of management within the cruise lines during this year’s edition of Seatrade Cruise Global,” commented Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding.
The conference sessions during Seatrade Cruise Global highlighted a number of emerging trends. The demand for cruise travel is on the rise, with a strong increase in demand particularly by the American market. There is an increased demand for luxury cruises due to more guests seeking upscale experiences at sea in line with higher disposable income and time to travel, with some passengers even cruising twice a year or more. Furthermore, the cruise industry is also attracting younger passengers, presenting stakeholders with further opportunities for growth. Additionally, the industry is characterised by a number of marketable up and coming destinations offering cruise itinerary planners more choice where to send their ships, keeping the supply side of the industry highly competitive.