Mediterranean Cruise and Ferry Convention
Seatrade Organization's speech at the press conference held in Genoa, Palazzo S. Giorgio on June 19, 1998
by Chris Hayman (23-6-98)
It is a great pleasure for us at Seatrade to be back in Genova once again. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Genova Port Authority, for hosting us in this occasion.
Seatrade, founded in 1970, has become an integral part of the shipping establishment. Its publications, events, training courses and other special projects cover every aspect of maritime activity, and are well known around the globe.
Seatrade's major objective is its ability to bring key shipping people together - often breaking new ground in the process.
Seatrade's influence in the cruise industry is particularly strong. This long-standing cruise connection is the foundation of Seatrade's latest publication: Seatrade Cruise Review published quarterly.
A growing series of global cruise events, owned by Miller Freeman, has reinforced Seatrade's position in the market; Seatrade's first cruise event took place in New York in 1985, and that show, now located in Miami, attracts an attendance of more than 10 000 people and an exhibition of close to 10 000 square meters.
Conventions in Miami, Genova, Singapore, Cairns and Copenhagen consistently attract the industry's major names both as speakers and attendees.
You will see from the conference programme in the newsletter that this will be the case again at the next Seatrade Mediterranean Cruise & Ferry Convention in Genoa in September.
We look forward with great optimism to this event which will take place against a background of strong demand and exciting innovation in both the cruise and ferry sectors.
We believe that the 1998 cruise season in the Mediterranean will break all previous records, for the number of passengers sailing, for the number of berths deployed, for the number of cruise lines operating and for the number of ports served.
It is exciting that all the major European operators are in the midst of expansion programmes. In addition, the number of cruises in the Mediterranean by North American based lines, which rose from 689 in 1996 to 757 last year, will certainly achieve a new record by the time this season is over.
The fleet of cruise ships currently operating in the Mediterranean now covers all sizes and categories of ship. Of particular interest is the introduction of the biggest cruise ship in the world, Princess Cruises' Grand Princess, into the Mediterranean this year.
This is the first time that a major newbuilding has had its debut outside the Caribbean. Princess has been so pleased with the result that the company has already committed to bring the ship back for the summer season in 1999.
Another remarkable feature of the cruise market in the Mediterranean is the changing nationality profile of the passengers.
As you know, Europe is now the fastest growing source market for cruise passengers in the world. Let me give one example.
The UK market alone grew by almost 25% last year and is expected to reach 750,000 passengers by the year 2,000.
Italy's contribution to the success of the cruise industry worldwide is of course enormous.
Italian shipyards are building some of the finest ships in the cruise fleet, from luxury five star vessels up to and including the Grand Princess, and Italian technology, design, outfitting, supply and manning have all contributed to make the cruise industry the fastest growing sector of the leisure market.
We believe that Genoa is an excellent place to hold this event.
The port of Genoa had the foresight to invest in terminal facilities in anticipation of this growth and is enjoying the benefits of that right now.
On the ferry side, there are a wide range of exciting new developments taking place. These include the introduction of fast ferry technology and the expansion of the cruise ferry concept which has been so well received in the Mediterranean.
Again the contribution from Italian companies to these developments has been enormous.
We believe that these very exciting developments in both the cruise and ferry sectors provide a fascinating backdrop for this year's Seatrade Mediterranean Convention.
We intend to ensure that the conference programme provides attendees with a clear picture of how these industries are developing and what the prospects are for the future.
What, for example, will be the significance of the new European Union cabotage regime which enters into force on January 1, 1999 ?
What is the likely impact of cruise tourism on the smaller ports of the Mediterranean, and how can the benefits be maximised ?
What will be the impact of fast ferry technology on the Mediterranean ferry market? These are just a few of the issues that will be addressed in a full conference programme.
The indications are that this year's exhibition will show substantial growth from 1996, reflecting the huge amount of activity now taking place.
I would like to make a special mention of the outstanding help and support we have received from Stazione Marittima Porto di Genova SpA in the organisation of this event.
I would also like to record our gratitude for the support received from MedCruise Association, and indeed from all of the sponsors of this Convention.
Our colleagues at Ediconsult are appointed as press officers for this event and can be contacted here in Genova for any further information.
We all look forward to seeing you in September and thank you for attending this morning.
For further information: Ediconsult