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Author: Rebecca Gibson/22 May 2019/Categories: Report, Ports and destinations
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Spring/Summer 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Renowned for having an entrance channel flanked by the world’s oldest lighthouse, a castle, marina and a waterfront area, the Port of A Coruña has emerged as a leading port in Spain’s cruise sector. The Atlantic port has tripled cruise passenger numbers in just 10 years, welcoming more people than ever before to experience the city’s beauty and history.
Once the departure point for emigrants setting sail for the Americas, A Coruña is now one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Cruise visitors are drawn to the city by its gastronomy, landscape, shopping (the city is home to the first-ever Zara clothing boutique), leisure and cultural offerings, all of which are located within easy reach of the cruise terminal. The terminal is just five minutes’ walk from the main square and a wealth of tapas bars and shops, as well as the principal tourist attractions.
A Coruña’s port authority continues to promote the city to ensure it is firmly positioned at the forefront of the European cruise sector. Recent improvement initiatives have included the complete renovation of passenger reception facilities, as the introduction of competitive rates, and faster, more efficient and higher quality services for both ships and passengers. The port authority also participates in all of the major cruise trade fairs.
Certainly, the authority’s hard work is paying off. A Coruña is now considered as the top port on the Cantabria-Atlantic seaboard between Lisbon, Portugal and the French border, both in terms of passenger numbers and calls. Last year, the port set a new record when it hosted more than 184,000 passengers and forecasts suggest 2019 will bring around 255,000 cruise guests and crew members to the city. Most of these visitors will be foreigners, which is expected to generate around €15 million (US$17 million) for the city from port taxes and tariffs, spending by passengers and crew, and payments to tour operators, carriers and suppliers.
In addition to boosting A Coruña’s economic growth, the cruise industry has a significant impact on the city’s image as a tourist hotspot and helps make it a year-round destination. This year, for example, spring and autumn will be the peak seasons.
Part of A Coruña’s appeal is that it attracts the world’s biggest shipping companies, which regularly bring their ships to the port. Customers include AIDA Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and TUI Cruises. The city will also welcome return visits from operators such as Costa Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Ponant and Saga Cruises this year.
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