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The Institutional Cruise Board of Tarragona reflects on 2023 and is already preparing for the 2024 season
14.12.2023 The Institutional Cruise Board of Tarragona reflects on 2023 and is already preparing for the 2024 season

The year 2023 concludes with 57 calls and 115,209 passengers with operational starts and ends of itineraries.

A 2024 season is anticipated with 58 calls and 122,000 passengers.

In June of the coming year, Tarragona will host the 64th meeting of the MedCruise Assembly.

On Thursday, December 14, institutional and business representatives belonging to the Institutional Cruise Board gathered at the Scientific and Technological Leisure and Tourism Park of Catalonia, located in Vila-seca. The purpose of the meeting was to analyze the results of the 2023 season, plan for the 2024 season, and continue preparations for the international MedCruise sector meeting scheduled for June 2024 in Tarragona.

2023 season overview

The year 2023 concludes with a total of 57 calls and 115,209 passengers, representing a 79% increase in passengers compared to 2022. October recorded the highest volume of cruise passengers in the history of Tarragona, surpassing 24,000 individuals. In 2023, MSC included Tarragona in a fixed itinerary, making calls in the city every Sunday from May to October. It is noteworthy that out of the 57 calls, there were turnaround operations in 41 calls, with 7 of them serving as both the start and end points for the entire passenger load, while the rest had partial operations. In conclusion, according to the data presented to the Cruise Board representatives, the economic impact of cruises on Tarragona in 2023 amounted to €15,257,000.

Survey and ratings

As customary to gather passenger opinions, a survey was conducted, analysing data from the season. The study reveals that the majority of passengers were of Spanish nationality (31%), followed by Italian (26%), French (9%), North American (8%), German (5%), English (4%), and others (17%).

Among the most requested excursions, 51% preferred visits to the city of Tarragona, 20% chose PortAventura Park, 20% preferred Poblet and its surroundings, while the remaining percentage included visits to beaches, wineries, and the modernist city of Reus. Cruise passengers rated their visit at 8.9, the same rating as in 2022. It is noteworthy that 95,6% declare that Tarragona exceeded or met their expectations, a figure higher than the 93.5% recorded in 2022. According to the Institutional Cruise Board, "these data are a sign of the good work done so far, surpassing evaluations from previous years and showing a positive perception of visitors about the Tarragona region."

2024 season forecasts

The 2024 season is expected to include 58 calls and 122,000 passengers. A significant development for the next year is the consolidation of Tarragona in the itinerary of MSC Cruises, which arrived in the city on Sundays in 2023. In 2024, between April 19 and October 26, with a total of 28 planned calls, the MSC Fantasia cruise ship will arrive on Fridays at Tarragona Cruise Port. The Board has also worked towards the deseasonalization of the cruise sector, with expectations that the upcoming season will extend until November. Cruise companies arriving in the city are consolidating, and it is anticipated that 6 new cruise ships will make their first calls in Tarragona, i.e., cruise ships that have never docked in Tarragona before.

Another noteworthy development is the expected inauguration and commencement of operations of the new cruise terminal by Global Ports Holding in May 2024. This terminal is described as sustainable and state-of-the-art.

Tarragona, host of the 64th MedCruise Assembly 2024

The 64th edition of the MedCruise Assembly will be held in Tarragona from June 11 to 14, 2024, marking a significant event in the cruise sector and providing a great opportunity for the Port of Tarragona and the region to establish itself as a tourist destination. All members of the Institutional Cruise Board are working to showcase their attractions and quality standards to the Assembly, aiming to consolidate internationally and generate synergies with other Mediterranean ports. The MedCruise Assembly is the event of the association of cruise ports in the Mediterranean, bringing together various stakeholders in the cruise activity, such as cruise companies, port agents, tourism boards, and companies linked to this industry.

Commitment of the cruise board

Cruise activity in Tarragona is a project with its own personality and organization, different from other models in the Mediterranean, as it is developed in consensus with institutional, administrative, and business representatives from the Camp de Tarragona and the Costa Daurada. The Institutional Cruise Board is a collaborative space where institutions, administrations, businesses, and the university cooperate to develop a sustainable cruise model. The cruise project is also characterized by constant efforts to diversify visits throughout the territory, avoiding concentration in a single destination or city and mitigating the mass tourism effects experienced by other destinations. Thus, from the moment the tourist destination is marketed to the offering of departures, cruise passengers opt for multiple destinations covering the entire Camp de Tarragona and the Ebro Lands, including Conca de Barberà, Priorat, Ebro Lands, and the cities of Tarragona, Reus, or Vila-seca.

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