Cruise tourism, which has become active again with the spread of vaccination, will make the real leap in 2022. While more than 600 ships are expected to dock at Turkish ports next year with accelerated voyages, it aims to break the industry’s historical record.
Turkish ports expect more than 600 ships in 2022 Turkey’s active programs in cruise tourism have started to be announced again. The sector, which was in distress before the pandemic, regained hope with the spread of its vaccine.
With the voyages to accelerate in 2022, sector representatives are already expecting more than 600 ships to dock at Turkish ports for the next year. Thus, it is estimated that a record will be broken in cruise tourism next year.
One of the best years of cruise tourism for Turkey; It was 2011 with 1,615 ships and 2 million 190 thousand passengers. In the following years, the sector maintained an average of 1,500 ships and nearly 2 million passengers. In 2016, the visits were 578 ships and 626 thousand 840 passengers. With the closure of Karaköy Port, Istanbul’s inability to host cruise ships and the terrorist attacks were effective in this. Many world-famous cruise companies have removed Turkey from its route. The sector started to recover only in 2019 as Turkey re-entered the route. Turkish ports hosted 344 ships and 300 thousand 896 passengers in 2019.
While the industry is waiting to return to its former glory, the pandemic has stopped cruise tourism all over the world. With the cessation of cruise voyages, only 5 ships and 1,824 passengers came to Turkey in 2020. Now, with the spread of vaccination all over the world, cruise tourism is getting ready to leave the effects of the pandemic behind. Despite the pandemic this year, 21 cruise ships docked at Turkish ports in the first 8 months, and 17 thousand passengers arrived. Ships started arriving in June. In 2019, which was before the pandemic, 290 ships and 147 thousand 338 passengers arrived in June, July and August. Although there is a 92.75 percent decrease compared to the same period, the industry is hopeful.
“THE EXHIBITIONS WILL GROW TO THE PEOPLE”
According to the news in the world, Istanbul and Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Black Sea Regions Chamber of Shipping (IMEAK) İzmir Branch Chairman Yusuf Öztürk stated that they maintain their optimism for the cruise sector in Turkish ports.
Öztürk said, “This season, within the scope of health protocols, cruise operators made voyages between a limited number of passengers, which we can call test drives, and very few ports. According to the foresight of the Mediterranean Cruise Ports Association (Medcruise), of which we are a member, voyages in the Mediterranean will grow to the public with the vaccination. Our ports will get their share from this as well,” he said.
“GALATAPORT WILL TRIGGER PORTS OF CALL”
Reminding that the first ship of the season docked at Ege Ports Kuşadası Port recently, Öztürk said, “This Turkish-owned ship named Blue Shapphir will make 11 more voyages. There is a rule in the industry that if a ship comes to a port, others will follow. In addition, the entry into service of Galataport will trigger other ports of call,” he said.
Stating that they continue with the promotions, Öztürk said, “I will attend the Miami Cruise Fair in the USA, representing our chamber, between 27-30 September. The Ministry of Culture will open a booth at the fair and work will be carried out there through the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency. We will meet with representatives of global cruise operators in Miami to increase their flights to Turkey,” he said.
30 PERCENT OF THE CAPACITY IN THE WORLD IS RE-OPERATING
Global Ports Holding Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director and Ege Ports Kuşadası General Manager Aziz Güngör, stating that they have received 650 ship reservations in 2022, said that they expect to break the all-time record.
Güngör noted that they hosted the first cruise ship this year at Ege Ports Kuşadası Port on September 2, and said, “It is pleasing that a tourist ship arrived in Kuşadası for the first time in 16 months. By the end of the year, there are 130 ship reservations for Kuşadası. However, these seem a little difficult to achieve. Demand is high for 2022, 650 ships are in line. This corresponds to approximately 250 thousand tourists. In May, certain cruise companies in the world started their activities. Especially after July, there was a serious acceleration. Currently, there are 65 cruise companies operating in the world and 200 ships are expected to enter service by the end of September. That’s about 30 percent of the world’s capacity. We are still at the beginning stage,” he said.
“TURKEY HAS BEEN FORCED TO BE THE RED ZONE”
Celestyal Cruises Turkey Director Özgü Alnıtemiz stated that a new cruise ship starts sailing every day, and companies are slowly launching their ships.
Stating that they started the voyage in June this year, Alnıtemiz said, “As always, there were Turkish ports on our routes. However, due to the increase in the number of cases and the necessity of staying in quarantine for passengers arriving by ship from Greece due to the fact that Turkey is in the red zone in terms of EU countries, cruise ships like us and us could not call at Turkish ports.
“GREECE’S BLOCKING RUNS THE PLANS”
Expressing that the ships are expected to come to Istanbul and Turkish ports, especially with the opening of Galataport next season, Alnıtemiz said:
“Currently, the number of ships coming to Turkey seems to be around 600. In this sense, we need to make a little more initiative as a state. Greece opened its land borders but not sea waters. There is an illogicality in this. Necessary steps need to be taken on behalf of the maritime trade and cruise industry. The blocking of Greece also spoils the plans of other ships. Considering that Turkish and Greek ports are included in most of the programs, we should act jointly and make plans as soon as possible to activate the cruise industry.”
THE FIRST SHIP TO COME TO GALATAPORT WAS CELESTIAL CRUISES
Reminding that 2019 was a promising year for the industry, Alnıtemiz said:
“The number of ship and cruise passengers arriving in Turkey was on the rise again. We visited Turkish ports 104 times in 2019. We were the most visited company. We would be the first company to bring the ship to the opening of Galataport in April 2020. While the plans were like this, the pandemic suddenly exploded.”
“WE WILL MAKE 29 TIMES BETWEEN APRIL-OCTOBER IN 2022”
Burak Caliskan, MSC Cruises Turkey Country Manager, said that MSC Grandiosa was the first ship to sail to the Mediterranean last year and said, “With the vaccination issue and the health measures taken, travel is expected to increase. As MSC Cruises, we will start our Kusadasi cruises next year. This week, we announced that we are resuming the Turkish animated programs. Between April and October 2022, our MSC Lirica ship will depart from Kuşadası Port and make 29 sailings on the Eastern Mediterranean route for 7 nights. About 78 thousand tourists will set foot in Kusadasi on a daily basis,” he said.
AIR CONDITIONERS CHANGED ON SHIPS
Sanitary measures on ships have been continuously updated and developed according to the criteria of global health authorities. It was served with a capacity of 700 passengers on ships with a capacity of approximately 1800 people. Disinfection stations were placed and the air conditioning system was changed.
IF ISRAEL AND GREECE OPEN, THE MEDITERRANEAN WILL BE FURTHER MOVED
ANEX Tour’s cruise ship Blue Sapphire started its second voyage from Antalya Port and sailed to the Mediterranean. Blue Sapphire will sail to Egypt’s Alexandria Port and then call at Bodrum, Marmaris, Kusadasi and Fethiye ports. Blue Sapphire Antalya Agency Representative Adnan Enderoğlu said that there were more than 400 Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh passengers in the middle and high income group on the ship, which made its second voyage.
Enderoğlu noted that the ship will organize a total of 13 voyages throughout the season. ANEX Tour CEO Hakan Çiftçioğlu also noted that although they have great expectations from 2022 in cruise tourism, this expectation will be determined by the pandemic process.
Çiftçioğlu said, “The Mediterranean will become more active with the opening of Israel and Greece to cruise tourism.”
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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