This represented a small decrease in business, down from 126,844 passengers in 2001. This year 230 calls are scheduled although 'more tonnage may arrive if lines take the decision to move Med-based tonnage westwards to perceived safer waters,' Raymond Ceccaldi, president CCI of Ajaccio and South Corsica told Seatrade Insider.
The summer season officially started in Ajaccio two weeks ago with the visit of Seven Seas Voyager. HAL's Noordam will call six times and Brilliance of the Seas once but with Americans accounting for only 9% of the passengers on the 131 calls at Ajaccio in 2002, the port is expecting once again mainly European cruiseships this season.
A new 1,500sq mtr congress centre 'Millenari' located portside in Ajaccio is now completed which can double as a passenger terminal if required. A EUR15m berth investment has also been approved and construction of a 260mtr long quay should start next year. The pier would take 18 months to complete. The port is hoping to attract turnarounds 'within two years' added Ceccaldi.
At South Corsica's other ports Bonifacio, which welcomes mainly luxury ships is expecting a 50% increase in calls this year with 79 ships scheduled and EUR15m is being invested on infrastructural improvements at Porto Vecchio and Propriano which will start at the end of this year. A mooring buoy closer to the shore will be added at Porto Vecchio this summer which will shorten the journey time from anchorage.