Published on : Thursday, November 26, 2020
The cruise industry will be gathering again at the International Cruise Summit on December 1 and 2, and Santander Cruise Deluxe will have a prominent presence at it as an official sponsor.
The Port, the City council of Santander and the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Tourism of the Government of Cantabria are determined to promote the arrival of cruises to the city as soon as these impressive ships start sailing again. The entire global cruise fleet has been virtually paralysed during the pandemic. However, it is slowly beginning to sail again with reinforced health and hygiene protocols including coronavirus testing before boarding for all passengers and crew members, specific assistance insurance and onboard activities adapted to social distancing and relevant sanitary measures.
When cruise ships cross the seas again, Santander wants to become the reference port on the northern facade of the Iberian Peninsula. Some 200 cruise ships a year sail through the Bay of Biscay, mostly to or from the port of Southampton, on the south coast of England. Attracting this traffic to Santander is the objective for which the Santander Cruise Deluxe brand has been designed. Its presentation will take place at the International Cruise Summit.
This event, which will hold its tenth edition this year, has great international relevance, and it involves both presidents of American and European shipping companies, as well as the senior executives who make decisions on the routes to be planned in the upcoming years. Also registered are port agents, tour operators and other stakeholders in the industry. The sponsorship of Santander Cruise Deluxe will stand out especially in the panel of small luxury cruises, where four managers of shipping companies specialized in that niche market will participate.
Several studies show that each cruiser spends more than 60 Euros in the city if he visit on his own, but this amount rises to between 150 and 200 euros if he hires an excursion, which involves the tour operator hiring local buses, official guides, tickets to tourist attractions, etc. Ease of travel through Cantabria is another of the objectives that are sought by cruisers, in order to take advantage of the proximity of the tourist attractions offered by the Region. In addition, the ships themselves contribute to additional revenue for the city in the form of port fees, pilots, moorings, supplies, etc.
Over the past decade, cruise tourism has grown markedly, with a dozen new ships inaugurated every year on average, reaching 30 million passengers annually in 2019 when ten years earlier it was only 17.8 million. But this has also raised controversy regarding this form of travel through being accused of causing tourist overcrowding in cities such as Venice, and of being highly polluting. The truth is that of the 25 million tourists that Venice receives, only 1.4 million are cruise passengers. Furthermore, in the last decade international legislation on atmospheric emissions has hardened so much that shipping companies have had to develop and install gas scrubbers in their funnels that achieve reductions of 97% in sulphur oxides, as well as very significant reductions in nitrogen oxides and particles. But there are even ships already sailing using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel, which does not emit sulphur oxides, reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 85% and CO2 emissions by 20%. Many of the cruise ships to be built in the coming years will use LNG as fuel. In this regard, it should be noted that the Port of Santander has obtained a grant of 4.3 million Euros from the European Union to design and build an LNG supply terminal that will be operational in March 2023. In addition, the berth area of the ferries will be transferred to the Maliaño Piers, leaving the Admiral Pier and the Maritime Station exclusively for cruise ships.
Not only have the polluting atmospheric emissions by cruise ships been significantly reduced, but shipping companies started a race years ago to save energy on board and emit less CO2. By 2020 many of the large shipping companies had completely removed single-use plastics on board, something that, unfortunately, the pandemic has managed to temporarily reverse.
Alongside the sponsorship of the International Cruise Summit, executives from the cruise industry around the world will be receiving in the near future a series of special newsletters highlighting the many delights that the city and the Autonomous Region of Cantabria can offer them, and the first meetings with shipping managers are already planned.