The Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry and general council representatives celebrate VPCC’s 10th anniversary in La-Londe-Les-Maures (Image: VPCC)
Var Provence Cruise Club’s (VPCC) 10 member ports have recorded an 87% growth in cruise passengers and a 46% rise in ship calls since the network was first established in September 2008.
Over the past 10 years, the French ports have handled visits from 2,500 cruise ships and three million guests, which averages at around 300,000 visitors per year. The main ports – Toulon Bay and Saint-Tropez – can welcome larger vessels, while smaller and boutique ships head to Saint-Cyr-Sur-Mer, Sanary-sur-Mer, Bandol, Les Embiez, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire, Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël. Once a new finger pier is completed in 2022, Toulon Bay will be able to welcome the world's largest ships.
Launched by the Var Chamber of Commerce and the General Council, VPCC has won four international awards over the past decade in recognition of its work to boost cruise tourism in the Var Provence region with the help of its partners.
Highlights include the launch of the Cruise Friendly Welcome Quality Label, which is granted to local tourism providers and storekeepers who adapt their opening hours to fit with scheduled ship calls, speak in English to cruise guests and offer them gifts or discounts. Since it started in 2013 with 72 shopkeepers and leisure providers in Toulon and La Seyne, the initiative has expended to include 431 shops with the notation in seven ‘Cruise Friendly’ cities – Bandol, Sanary, Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Hyères, Le Lavandou and Saint-Raphaël.
The network has also collaborated with local authorities, tourism associations and leisure activity providers to create a catalogue of more than 100 exclusive experiential and immersive excursions and ecotours for cruise passengers.
In addition, VPCC has joined the Region Sud Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur cruise branch programme to collaborate on marketing initiatives with cruise associations in Marseille Provence and French Riviera. It has also joined the Interreg Marittimo (ItinERA) programme to work with ports in France (Var Provence and Corsica) and Italy (Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany) to create a range of eco-friendly excursions based on sustainable development and biodiversity. This will enable VPCC to offer cruise line’s two cross-border itineraries.
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