Haifa Port hopes to welcome more cruise passenger in 2019 and 2020 than ever before
This article was first published in the Itinerary Planning Special Report. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
This year has not proved to be an easy one for Haifa Port's cruise terminal, the only turnaround location in Israel. Due to a lack of cruises that call in neighbouring Egypt and Turkey, the number of tourists arriving by sea is falling far short of the port’s potential.
Despite this, Zohar Rom, Haifa Port spokesman and cruise manager, remains optimistic. “Our hope is that 2019 will be the turning point, as we’re expecting an 86% increase over 2018, to be followed by another dramatic rise in 2020,” he says. “I can’t reveal all the details yet, but in 2019 we will also see a massive increase in the number of Israelis sailing from Haifa Port.”
Haifa Port has taken several significant steps to secure a brighter future. It has retained the services of Miami-based Access Cruise, a marketing company, and established a strategic alliance with the DP World Limassol passenger terminal in Cyprus. What’s more, in collaboration with DP World Limassol and AccessCruise, the port has arranged a special tour for senior cruise line executives, providing them with direct access to everything that Haifa and Israel have to offer.
“The percentage of cruise passengers who go on lengthy shore excursions in Israel is one of the highest in the world, and of course that's very profitable,” says Rom. “Who would come to Israel and miss out on the chance to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, or Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee? The terminal also provides convenient access to the city of Haifa. In just five minutes, you can be in the trendy downtown area, or the iconic Bahai Gardens.”
Rom is also on the lookout for new attractions, such as the Haifa Lights audiovisual installation, which will start lighting up the sky with an incredible laser show in April 2019. “This will take place every evening, all year round, and will be visible throughout Haifa Port, the entire city of Haifa, and of course from the cruise ships,” Rom says.
In the past year, Haifa Port also inaugurated its new passenger quay, located just outside the passenger terminal. This represents a significant leap forward for the port, as it permits the simultaneous docking of three cruise ships, including two large ships right by the terminal. As well as playing a prominent role in the first stage of Haifa's new urban seafront project, the quay also hosted the first season of the Israeli Ninja Warrior.
“We're going above and beyond to ensure that as many people as possible experience the very best of the Eastern Mediterranean,” Rom concluded.
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