The first stakeholder meetings to progress a long-term strategic cruise plan for the Canary Islands were run by the Spanish archipelago’s tourism organisation, Tourism Promotur de Canarias, at the beginning of April.
In conjunction with cruise and destination development firm Bermello Ajamil and Partners Europe (BA Europe) who have been retained to deliver the Cruise Tourism Strategic Plan, the goal was to gather feedback from all parties involved in the cruise business to develop a common strategy and action plan with shared responsibilities that will contribute to the Canaries ‘re-discovery’ as a cruise destination.
“Turismo de Canarias believes it is necessary to have a common strategy that illustrates our advantages over other competing destinations worldwide and helps us to improve all aspects that can weigh on the consolidation of the Canary Islands as a cruise destination in the coming years,” said María Mendez Castro, general manager of Promotur, Canary Islands Tourist Authority. “There are great opportunities to explore further the untapped potential our seven very different islands offer regular visitors, but also to further attract new consumer markets from the EU, US and beyond.”
Attendees included representatives from the local port authorities of Puertos de Estado, and tourism institutions in Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro. Tourism promotional agencies included the Canary Islands Government, Puertos de Canarias, international and local port agents, tour operators and other industry players that are part of the outreach efforts led by the BA Europe’s Mark Ittel and Luis de Carvalho.
“This is a long-term project that requires a lot of work and commitment from everyone involved, but teamwork is the secret of our success,” Mendez Castro said. “Our ultimate goals include improving the image of Canarias as a cruise destination and ensuring that we keep growing our cruise business in a sustainable manner for years to come. We not only want cruise lines to improve their revenue opportunities and guest satisfaction levels, but to generate increased economic benefits from cruise to the local communities.”
The added value of the Canaries’ proximity to the Mediterranean, Madeira, Azores, mainland Portugal, North Africa, West Africa and Cape Verde, as well as its strategic location for transatlantic and re-positioning cruises will also be explored.
Cruise numbers peaked at the Spanish destination in 2012 with 1,725,889 passenger visits but dipped by around 6% to 1,624,473 guests in 2013.