Having announced in April that 50 cruise ships and over 100,000 tourists would visit the city in 2019 the Alicante City council has revised their forecast downward saying now that the number will be reduced to 44.

Having closed the first half of the year with an 8.6% decrease in the number of tourists, compared to the same period of 2018, this is further bad news for the port and the tourist sector in the city.

After the recent upsurge it would appear that cruise tourism in Europe is now beginning to slow down, due to the oversupply that is being experienced in the sector, with one of the ports to be affected being that of Alicante.

The port has now down rated its passenger forecast. Having hosted 40,500 cruise up to 31 July only another 23,000 cruise passengers will be added to the schedule which will see a further 17 ships arriving in the port between now and November, which will not meet the forecast for this year.

In April the City council said that the port would welcome 50 ships into Alicante, which would bring with them 100,000 passengers, many of them from the MSC shipping company, however, only 44 cruises will now arrive, six less than planned, although a this stage the schedule for December is still not known.

In 2018, 54 cruise ships and 100,752 cruise ship passengers arrived at the terminal.

Since 2015 cruise tourism has generated around five million euros a year on the Costa Blanca, which includes the costs for docking and the money spent by tourists in the city of Alicante, an average spend of 50 euros per person, per cruise. The shortfall in ship and passenger numbers will equate to approximately 600,000 euro

Meanwhile, the neighbouring ports of Cartagena and Valencia continue to grow with 97,651 (13%) and 184,453 passengers (16%) more in the first half of the year, according to the State Port statistics.

Unfortunately Alicante is not such an attractive proposition for many cruise companies because of its proximity to Valencia and because of the competitive rates of the neighbouring port of Cartagena, so consolidating Alicante as a base port for cruises that cross the Mediterranean and the long term future that it might have is anybody’s guess.

However the difficulties currently being experienced in a rather massive sector goes someway to explaining the fall of a tourist product that is beginning to cool down in Alicante. And that after the Miami fair this year, following which it was announced that 2020 would be fantastic with 63 cruise ships and 140,000 tourists. We will have to wait and see.

Image courtesy: Javi R


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