Eva Guillermina Fernández links the ‘Santander Cruise Deluxe’ project to the government’s policy to promote non-seasonal tourism in Cantabria

The Minister of Tourism has deemed it «essential» to collaborate with the City Council of Santander and the Port Authority to promote cruise tourism in the region.

The Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Sports, Eva Guillermina Fernández, has linked the ‘Santander Cruise Deluxe’ project to the government’s policy in Cantabria to promote non-seasonal tourism in the region. She considers collaboration with the City Council of Santander and the Port Authority to be «essential.»

Explaining that it is an «innovative» project representing a balance between economic growth and tourism promotion, the minister aims to establish a roadmap for promoting and advancing cruise tourism, an increasingly thriving sector. This initiative emerged from a protocol among the three administrations to analyze the economic impact of cruise tourism in the region.

During the project presentation, the minister referred to the sector’s contribution to the regional tourism’s non-seasonalization. In economic terms, she estimated a spending forecast between 12 and 24 million euros from cruise passengers visiting the region in the next year.

Furthermore, she mentioned that improvements in port infrastructure and specialized services are yielding positive results. She highlighted the efforts of the Port of Santander in modernizing the Maliaño dock and the passenger terminal to enhance tourist arrivals.

At the ‘Santander Cruise Deluxe’ presentation, the Tourism Minister was accompanied by the Mayor of Santander, Gema Igual; the President of the Port Authority, César Díaz; and the representative of AC Asesores, who will conduct the study, Luis Cubría.

Cubría commented that the project aims to diagnose the cruise sector, understand Santander’s capabilities and strengths, and engage with the industry to establish a roadmap. The strategic lines will be unveiled next year at the International Tourism Fair (FITUR).

Acknowledging the sector’s growth, he emphasized the concentration of cruise tourism in spring and autumn, noting its positive impact on the city and its contribution to the growth of international tourism.

César Díaz mentioned the operational new ferry terminal since spring, making the berth available for cruises at the maritime station. The surroundings have been renovated to integrate it with the city, adding value to Santander for this type of tourism. He also noted that Santander has led passenger traffic in northern Spain in 2022, encompassing both ferries and cruises.

Gema Igual described the project as an example of institutional collaboration, facilitated by new port infrastructures and the cultural, tourist, and gastronomic offerings of the city and the region.

This initiative aims to establish the foundations and strategies for analyzing the sector, taking into account Santander’s and the port’s possibilities, analyzing the cruise passenger profile, the city and Cantabria’s positioning as a destination, and capabilities compared to other northern Spanish ports, among other considerations.