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26 January 2024

FITUR CRUISES reveals that more than 36 million travellers will embark in 2024

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The section of the International Tourism Trade Fair reflects the huge boom in the cruise travel sector.

A total of twenty participants between cruise lines, ships and ports received the Cruceroadicto Awards 2023.

One of the industries that is gaining most popularity among travellers in the tourism sector is the cruise sector. In this regard, FITUR CRUISES, the section dedicated to blue tourism at FITUR, held its days of reflection with round tables and various presentations at the International Tourism Trade Fair, organised by IFEMA MADRID from 24 to 28 January. Experts and leaders of the cruise sector have highlighted, among other topics, the first projections that anticipate that 2024 is going to be a promising year for this segment with a forecast revealing that more than 36 million people will choose to travel by cruise ship.

The cruise passenger experience was analysed in depth at Wednesday's session with a talk by Frank Barbinger, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid. Costa Cruises also presented its new campaign  "Live your Wonder”, an on-board proposal for the ships in its fleet this year. In addition, the city of Ceuta also participated in FITUR CRUISES and presented all of its visitor possibilities when disembarking in its ports on one of the Mediterranean itineraries. The morning of talks was rounded off with a performance by "El Sevilla", one of the comedians who performs on Costa Cruceros ships as part of the "Spanish flavour" experience.

The second professional day of this space exceeded all expectations in terms of the number of attendees both at the different stands and spaces at FITUR CRUISES and at the talks held during the day, in which the public learned about the current state of the cruise industry. In this sense, Jesus Garcia, editor-in-chief of magazine, analysed what cruise passengers are like and what they are looking for in 2024, stating the reasons that encourage them to book a cruise. He stressed that this profile is loyal to the cruise experience, but the majority are not loyal to specific cruise lines, as they like to change experiences and travel styles.

The presentation given by Puertos del Estado revealed other record figures for the industry. "A total of 12 million passengers passed through our ports last year, 46.6% more than in 2022, according to provisional data. These figures position Spain as the second cruise destination in Europe, after Italy". Also, Ruben Olmos, representative for Global Nexus, gave an overview of the trends and forecasts detected for 2024 among the different cruise lines and regions. In addition, Michel Julian, representing the World Tourism Organization, gave his reflections. The last talk of the day was given by Rafael Carmona, president of the association of cruise ports Suncruise Andalucía, who defended its strategy to promote the Andalusian ports as a cruise destination.

Winners of the Cruceroadicto Awards 2023

Also taking place on Thursday 25 January was the presentation of the Cruceroadicto 2023 Awards, international recognitions that act as a loudspeaker for cruise travellers, allowing them to nominate the top cruise lines, ships and ports of 2023. A total of 20 participants received this award in the following categories:

Best family cruise line, MSC Cruises; Best premium cruise line, Celebrity Cruises; Best upper premium cruise line, Cunard Line; Best luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises;

Best expedition liner, Hurtigruten; Best family liner, MSC World Europe; Best premium liner, Celebrity Beyond; Best upper premium liner, Queen Elizabeth; Best luxury liner, Explora I; Best expedition liner, MS Fram; Best home port (overall), Barcelona; Best port of call (overall), Valletta;

Best Asian port, Singapore; Best European Atlantic port, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Best Caribbean port, San Juan de Puerto Rico; Best Mediterranean port, Barcelona; Best North European port, Bergen; Best North American port, Miami.

Best Middle Eastern port Winner: Dubai and Best South American port, Buenos Aires.

FITUR CRUISES at the weekend

The programme continues for FITUR weekend visitors with activities for all audiences. One of the most eye-catching of these is the third edition of the Cruise Scavenger Hunt, a fun game suitable for all members of the family, which tests your knowledge as a traveller and cruiser. Participants must locate ten countries or cruise ship ports of call as they solve clues throughout the different trade fair halls. Those who manage to complete this treasure hunt are entered into a final draw for prizes such as cruise trips, event tickets or cruise excursions.