Santander Cruise Unveils Cruise Tourism Success at FITUR 2024

In a remarkable event at FITUR 2024, Santander Cruise Deluxe, a collaboration between the Port Authority of Santander, the City Council, and the Department of Culture, Tourism, and Sports (under the Government of Cantabria), presented its successful roadmap for elevating cruise tourism in Santander and Cantabria.

The pivotal presentation, held on this morning at the Cantabria stand, featured key figures, including Eva Guillermina Fernández, the Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Sports; Cesar Díaz, President of the Port Authority; and Gema Igual, the Mayor of Santander.

Cruise travel continued to thrive, with Santander Cruise’s study revealing that global cruise passengers reached 31.5 million in 2023, projected to climb to 39.6 million by 2027 (source: CLIA, the leading cruise line association). Spain, a frontrunner in cruise visits, welcomed 11.5 million disembarkations in 2023. Capitalizing on this momentum, the Port of Santander upgraded its passenger terminal in 2023, complemented by a specialized dock for cruise ships. The City Council further enhanced the terminal’s urban landscape, providing seamless access to Santander’s historic center and cultural attractions. Simultaneously, the Government of Cantabria, recognizing the potential, maintained a permanent tourist office at the maritime station.

Crafted with insights from key stakeholders, the roadmap focused on five strategic axes: cruise tourism attraction, service management enhancement, local economic impact, sustainability, and destination innovation. Nineteen action lines were deployed to achieve the ambitious goal of hosting 90,000 cruise passengers in Santander by 2030.

The impact study, analyzing the effects of cruise visits on Santander, aligned seamlessly with the city and Cantabria’s objectives of destigmatizing tourism. The international profile of cruisers, predominantly from the UK, perfectly complemented the growth objectives set by the Government of Cantabria and the City Council of Santander.

Economic impact calculations for Cantabria, considering various scenarios, revealed that the target scenario of 90,000 cruise passengers in 2023 generated an impact of nearly 8 million euros conservatively, and 12.6 million using CLIA’s European spending figure. In a scenario with larger ships, the potential regional impact was projected to reach 24.1 million euros by 2030.

A condensed version of the study is now available here: Estudio y Hoja de Ruta Santander Cruise web

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