The passengers are counted each time they disembark at a North Norwegian port. So around 150,000 passengers travelled to the region, visiting an average of around three ports. Cruise visitor growth in the region in 2018 was up 16%, year on year.
The number of calls increased from 380 in 2017 to 457 in 2018 (+20%).
Tromsø the most popular port
Almost 60% of the passengers visited two ports; Tromsø and North Cape. Tromsø is now clearly the most popular port in the region with 116 cruise calls and more than 140,000 arriving passengers. In comparison, North Cape had 100 cruise calls and 138,000 arriving passengers.
Narvik is experienced expotential growth. The number of arriving passengers in 2018 quadrupled to more than 9,000. The prognosis for 2019 is equally impressive with more than 24,000 passengers expected to arrive. This represents a 12-fold increase in the number of cruise passengers to Narvik in the space of two years.
Smaller ports gaining
Harstad and Vesterålen are also growing their business. Both ports can expect just over 8,000 passengers in 2019 after also experiencing growth in 2018 compared to the previous year. Bodø is expected more than 30,000 passengers, which is triple the number from two years ago.
‘There was good growth in the number of calls and passengers in 2018. The prognosis for 2019 shows that this trend will level off somewhat. It is extremely pleasing to see that the smaller ports are experiencing by far the largest growth,’ said Erik Joachimsen, managing director of CNNS.
He also noted winter cruises to Northern Norway are selling at record speed, ‘which will almost certainly lead to cruise lines having even greater focus on the winter season.’
Joachimsen said another reason for optimism for the ports of North Norway is that, ‘recent developments in the fjords in Western Norway, where several cruise lines are encountering obstacles to cruise calls, means that the cruise lines are now looking for alternative sailing routes.’
Focus on year-round cruising
Northern Norway and Svalbard together have just as many passengers per year as Bergen – Norway’s most popular port.
‘The potential for increased cruise traffic to the north is better than ever since the region has the capacity and willingness to focus on cruise all year round. Our members have excelled at adapting increasingly more to activity-based tourism, which in turn adds value to shore-based tourism,’ concluded Joachimsen.