Cruise Europe, an organisation representing 120 ports and associate members on the continent, is to hold its annual three-day conference in the capital in June.
Cruise Europe’s goal is to have cruise companies, ports and likely destinations working together in a unified manner to ensure safe and enhanced experiences for cruise passengers.
Chairman of Cruise Europe, Captain Michael McCarthy — who is also commercial manager of the Port of Cork — said he is excited at the prospect of Dublin hosting the conference. He said it was a great opportunity to showcase Ireland to the cruise industry.
The conference, he said, represents an opportunity for delegates to nurture those long-term relationships, discuss and debate operational issues, regulatory policies, and to explore new ventures and markets.
One of the strongest growth areas in international tourism has been in cruise tourism globally.
Cruises within Europe and in particularly Northern Europe have seen the most growth in recent years. Irish ports are also enjoying a steady increase in cruise liner traffic.
According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2015 edition of its report ‘The Cruise Industry: Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Economies of Europe’, an estimated 5.85 million passengers embarked on cruises from a European port with over 83% being Europeans and only 0.9 million from outside Europe.
Capt McCarthy said this shows that cruises originating in Europe represented over a quarter of the total cruises globally and generated over 29 million cruise passengers visiting around 250 European ports.
It’s expected that 58 cruise liners will call to Cork this year, up three on last year. The port plans to host up to 75 liners a year within the next five years. Dublin Port is expected to see 96 cruise ships arrive this year.
“Cork hosted the Cruise Europe conference in 2005 and it is really positive to have the conference back in Ireland, hosted this time by Dublin Port. 2016 is a noteworthy year for Cruse Europe, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary,” Capt McCarthy said.
“The conference will bring together all the cruise ports of Europe and the key decision makers from the cruise line companies, whose roles are to plan the itineraries of the cruise ships. This is a unique opportunity to showcase Ireland, our tourism offering and renowned Irish welcome.”