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Italy to gain record number of cruise passengers in 2024

The event took place at the Aragonese Castle in Taranto on Oct. 27
Italian cruise ports will set a new record in 2024, surpassing 13m passengers thanks to over 5,000 calls – the highest figure in 10 years.

According to the Italian Cruise Watch 2024 report published by Risposte Turismo tourism research company and presented last Friday at the 11th Italian Cruise Day event, Italian cruise ports will rack up 13.1m passengers and just over 5,000 calls in 2024 - a 1.8% and 0.7% increment compared to the closing figures forecast for this year.  

Francesco di Cesare, president, Risposte Turismo, said exceeding the 13m threshold for 2024 demonstrates a new phase of cruise activity in Italy, and listed sustainable cruise tourism among the new challenges calling for ‘cooperation among all the involved parties.’

A key topic was the LNG integrated supply chain with Franceso Parisi, head of SSLNG Wholesale Edison, pushing towards a common and coordinated effort between operators and authorities.

This year’s event was held at the Aragonese Castle in Taranto in partnership with the Ionian Sea Ports System Authority and Taranto City Hall, joined by representatives of several international cruise lines that operate in Italy, national cruise ports, local authorities, agencies and cruise terminal operators. 

The forum also saw the participation of Marie-Caroline Laurent, director general of CLIA Europe and the president of Assoporti (Italian Ports Association) Rodolfo Giampieri.

New cruise terminal at Ravenna

Among the topics discussed, it was revealed that with the addition of Porto Corsini at Ravenna next year, 2024 will see the number of cruise terminals in the network of Italian cruise ports rise from 55 to 56. 

Further terminals will open in 2025, including one at Catania.

The figures come mainly from the 35 cruise ports which represent 97% of cruise traffic nationally and 86% of the total number of calls in Italy, and take into account several factors such as ship occupation rate and itineraries.

The data, however, does not consider the consequences of the security issues affecting the Mare Nostrum basin.  

Passenger numbers for 2023 and 2024

Civitavecchia is set to receive the highest number of passengers next year with 3m (+4% on 2023) and receive the highest number of calls (850) with Naples and Leghorn following behind.   

Naples has a historic 1.61m cruise passengers predicted to arrive (+4% over 2023,) followed by Genoa with 1.38m passengers and 300 calls.

Figures in Palermo continue to climb, which will see the port enter the ‘million club’ (+7 over 2023.)

Savona, La Spezia, Messina, Livorno, Venice and Bari follow as the ports with the highest number of passengers.

Messina, entering this top 10, is expected to reach 682,000 passengers (+24.1% over 2023) and 233 calls (+10%). Cagliari is on course to reach 400,000 passengers (+33.3%) and Olbia, 120,000 (+51.9%), Salerno and Brindisi gain 120,000 (+26.3%) and 111,000 (+27.6%) passengers.

Among these ports, Cagliari and Brindisi will register the largest increase in the number of calls compared to 2023 (+29.4% and +29.5%).

Eighteen ports will clock up over 100,000 passengers, with others like Crotone and Chioggia set to encounter 30,000-70,000 passengers, following the pattern seen in recent years from ports such as Taranto, Siracusa and Monfalcone.

A number of these Italian ports are part of the MedCruise network.