'The cruise market is booming like never before,' said Bernd Aufderheide, CEO and president, Hamburg Messe und Congress. 'Passenger numbers are rising steadily and the demand situation for European shipyards and their suppliers is excellent.' He cited a record orderbook, billions of euros in investment and 75 newbuilds to be delivered by 2025 alone.
More than 260 exhibitors from 40 nations presented their products and services this year, including shipyards, cruise ports, food and beverage manufacturers, shipbrokers and many more, Aufderheide said.
There was also great deal of interest in the Newcomers’ Pavilion, showcasing 19 companies that are moving for the first time into the cruise and river cruise sectors. They used the event as a platform to make contacts with the cruise lines.
A new feature for 2017, exhibiting ports and destinations were also given the opportunity to give a 90-second lighting pitch in front of a high caliber judging panel on the final day of the event. This proved to be a popular addition.
Accompanying the exhibition was a full conference program covering the most topical issues and trends facing the European cruise industry. Speakers and panelists included high-profile personalities and heavyweights. CEOs speaking during the opening ‘Future of Cruise Industry in Europe’ session expressed optimism about the business in Germany, and the wider European market proved a strong talking point.
Although China replaced Germany as the world's second-largest source market for ocean cruise passengers last year, the host country of Seatrade Europe continues to be a dynamically developing market. Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and chairman of CLIA Germany, predicted the German passenger count could reach 3m by 2020, up from 2m in 2016.
'As both a cruise destination and passenger source market, Europe continues to show its strength,' said Andrew Williams, group brand director, Aviation & Maritime Group, UBM EMEA. In 2016, northern/western Europe had an 11% share of global cruise capacity (with the Mediterranean at 18.3%), and more than 6.6m Europeans cruised.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility were at the forefront throughout the event as delegates were invited to witness a virtual keel-laying ceremony by Carnival Corp. & plc, for AIDAnova, the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ship. To great applause, Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp., joined by key brand leaders, celebrated this landmark occasion.
River cruising also came under the spotlight throughout the conference program, with dedicated sessions providing a focus on both identifying innovation and analyzing the current security situation.
Another highlight was the presentation of the Seatrade Cruise Awards. Karl J. Pojer was honored as Seatrade European Personality of the Year.
Other winners included British Virgin Islands Ports Authority (Port of the Year), Le Havre Tourism Board (Destination of the Year), Coltraco Ultrasonics (Supplier of the Year), Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine Partnership (Marketing Initiative of the Year), PresentWater AS (Environmental Initiative Award) and Abercrombie & Kent/Akorn for The Koala Clancy Foundation Tour & Book (Innovative Shorex of the Year).
Outstanding Contribution Award went to Antonius Heuer, most recently VP, global cruise, Oracle Hospitality Cruise, while Port Personality of the Year went to Angie Redhead, cruise and operations manager, Liverpool Cruise Terminal and chair of CruiseBritain.
Seatrade Europe has also continued its close cooperation with Hamburg Cruise Days, Sept. 8-10, which underscore Hamburg’s international significance in the world of cruising.
The next Seatrade Europe will be held at the Hamburg Fair site, Sept. 11-13, 2019.