Italy stays on top in the Med, with 12m cruise visitors forecast in 2019

Genoa’s passenger count will be up 33.5% this year. With 1.35m passengers, it ranks sixth busiest port in the Mediterranean, according to Risposte Turismo PHOTO: Costa Cruises

Italy will hold its place as the Mediterranean’s leading cruise destination in 2019, with more than 12m passengers and nine of its ports in the 20 most visited by cruisers in the Mare Nostrum.

This is according to the Italian Cruise Watch report to be released by Risposte Turismo’s Italian tourism research and consulting company during Italian Cruise Day on Oct. 18.

Italy’s ports are forecast to rack up 12,090,451 cruise visitors, an 8.8% increase over 2018, and 4,857 ship calls, 3.2% more than last year. The country holds around a 40% share of Mediterranean cruise traffic, with four cruise ports in the region’s Top 10 and nine in the Top 20, according to Risposte Turismo President Francesco di Cesare.

Civitavecchia on top in Italy

Italy’s leading cruise port, and No. 2 in the Mediterranean after Barcelona, is Civitavecchia (Rome), with 2.56m passengers and 827 calls. Then comes Venice, fifth in the Mediterranean, with 1.55m passengers and 500 calls. Genoa, with 1.35m pasengers and 268 calls, ranks sixth, and Naples, with 1.22m and 450 calls, seventh.

Livorno is the Mediterranean’s 11th busiest port, with 838,500 passengers and 384 calls, followed by Savona (15th) with 770,000 passengers and 162 calls, La Spezia (16th) with 650,000 passengers and 147 calls, Bari (18th) with 610,000 passengers and 234 calls and Palermo (19th) with 570,500 passengers and 156 calls.

While Venice held steady, Genoa and Naples each moved up a notch and Livorno took one step down. For the first time, La Spezia entered the Top 20 Mediterranean ports, while Bari and Palermo dropped one spot and Savona six. Major infrastructure works have been under way at the latter two ports.

Italy’s Top 10

On top in Italy, Civitavecchia is projected to post a 4.9% increase in passenger traffic and 8.8% in calls over 2018, while Venice is stable. Genoa’s passenger count will be up 33.5% and calls 17%, followed by Naples with a 14.6% passenger increase and 20.3% more calls. Livorno, in fifth spot, is followed by Savona and La Spezia. Bari is close behind with a few thousand passengers’ difference but higher ship calls, Palermo comes in ninth, with stable numbers, and Messina rounds out the Top 10 with a 18.5% increase in passenger traffic.

In the follow-on 10 ports, significant growth is being registered by Catania (12th position) with 204,059 passengers (up 64% over 2018) and 103 calls (up 47.1%), followed by Salerno (16th) and Ancona (17th) with 36.4% and 38% passenger increases respectively. Portofino (18th) has a big 117.5% increase, to 78,401 passengers, while the count at Porto Torres (20th) spiked 490.5%, to 50,000 passengers.

The Ligurian ports system (led by Genoa, Savona and La Spezia) heads the Italian regions’ ranking, with Lazio (Civitavecchia, Gaeta and Fiumicino) second and the Veneto region third, closely followed by Campania’s ports (led by Naples).

Spain narrows the gap

Spain, with 21 cruise ports (including some outside the Mediterranean basin) chalked up 9.72m passengers in 2018. The country has halved its distance from Italy since 2014, when Spain posted 7.3m passengers.

Released more than two months before the end of 2019, the Italian Cruise Watch numbers are based on the bulk of the year’s passenger traffic and calls.

Risposte Turismo will unveil the report during Italian Cruise Day 2019, hosted by Cagliari, Sardinia, Oct. 18.

 

Posted 9 October 2019

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Luca Peruzzi

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Italy correspondent

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