Photo: Barcelona port
Spain is looking to attract the world’s largest cruise lines by offering lower fees for arriving ships and passengers and making investments to link ports to the country’s major cities.
In an interview with Efe, the president of Puertos del Estado, the agency that coordinates Spain’s port authorities, summarized the strategy that the Iberian nation mapped out this week at Cruise Shipping Miami, the industry’s most important gathering.
“We’ve lowered the ship fees by 5 percent, the passenger fees by another 5 percent, and also the fees levied on cruise terminals by 8.5 percent,” Jose Llorca said, defending the need to “make the Spanish market more competitive and attractive to cruise lines.”
He said Spain must “be efficient and cost-competitive” to attract cruise business and make investments to link the ports to cities, adding that 300 million euros ($417 million) had been earmarked for that latter purpose in recent years.
Spain also has launched a program aimed at awarding concessions to private companies to convert old lighthouses into hotels in scenic areas.
Also taking part in Cruise Shipping Miami were 25 Spanish ports authorities, more than 70 private companies whose business relates to the cruise sector and representatives of chambers of commerce, municipal governments and tourism boards.
Spain’s culture, history and cuisine put it a “privileged position” relative to other countries, Llorca told Efe.
The Mediterranean region, where Spain’s main tourist ports are located, “is the most important cruise destination, particularly in the summer, a time when Miami is in low season,” he said.
Llorca added that “public-private” collaboration among different Spanish companies in the sector is crucial to making the country attractive to large cruise lines.