The forecast, compiled by Risposte Turismo, was announced by company president Francesco di Cesare, during the 4th Italian Cruise Day held in Naples on Friday.
Based on data provided by 40 ports, accounting for 99.5% of the passengers and 96% of ship calls visiting Italy last year, 2014 is expected to close with 10,322,224 cruise passengers and 4,676 calls, representing a 9% decline in cruise traffic for the year and a significant loss of one million cruise visitors compared to 2013, said Di Cesare presenting the results of the Italian Cruise Watch 2014 report.
Civitavecchia and Venice remain the country’s two leading ports set to welcome 2.2m and 1.7m passengers respectively this year, on 837 and 489 ships. These numbers account for a decline of 14% and 4%, compared to 2013.
Third placed port, Naples, will creep over the million passenger mark with 1,020,000 cruise visitors(down 13% on a year earlier) and 425 calls, a 3% decline.
In fourth place and bucking the trend is Savona recording 980,000 passengers and 292 calls, up 4% and 21% respectively, compared to 2013. The port inaugurated a second terminal this summer.
Genoa, in fifth position, will be hit by a 22% reduction in passenger numbers to 820,000 on 207 calls.
Other ports expected to show a decline in passengers are are Messina (-41%), Cagliari (-46%), Catania (-64%), Ravenna (-55%), Ancona (-66%) and Trieste (-57%), commented Di Cesare.
On the contrary, La Spezia, in 9th position will finish with 493,000 passengers and 185 ships, representing an increase of over 100% in each case compared to 2013, while Palermo, in eighth place in the table will welcome 500,000 passengers and 217 ship calls, a rise of 21.7% and 14.8% compared to 2013.
Regionally, Ligurian ports will collectively welcome 2.3m passengers, ahead of Lazio (2.2m) mainly visiting Civitavecchia, then Veneto with Venice and Trieste (1.8m), Campania district with Naples and Salerno (1.3m) and Sicily with Palermo, Messina and Catania. These five regions account for 83% of the Italy’s cruise traffic.
Looking ahead, 2015 is set to be a better year for Italian ports. According to data collected from 31 ports, passengers are expected to reach 10,980,248 on and 4,690 ships with Civitavecchia, Venice, Naples, Savona and La Spezia in the first five places, followed by Genoa, Livorno, Bari, Palermo and Messina, highlighted di Cesare.
He noted Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas calling Italian ports of Civitavecchia, Naples and Livorno, will help boost the numbers next year.
With respect to infrastructure, Italy boasts 46 berths able to handle cruise ships longer than 350mtr, with another two coming on stream in 2015.