Cruising, Big Business
The Netherlands becomes more and more important to the cruise market. The amount of Dutch cruise passengers grew with four per cent in 2013 and the cruise ports of Amsterdam, IJmuiden and Rotterdam are doing well: in 2013, 28 calls were made with a total of about 70,000 passengers at the Cruise Terminal Rotterdam, 54 and 137 calls were made in respectively Amsterdam and IJmuiden, operating under the umbrella of Cruise Terminals Amsterdam.
The cruising industry is important to Rotterdam, as Jeanette Baljeu, port alderman of Rotterdam explained during a press conference organised by the Dutch chapter of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and the Cruise Terminal Rotterdam: ”I am proud that Rotterdam is a cruise city. It is a growing market and the outlook for Rotterdam is positive: calls stimulate the local economy because of the spin offs. It is estimated that the extra value of a call amounts to € 500,000. Therefore we also encourage to offer more and more extensive excursion packages as this clearly is profitable, so we can strengthen the added value for Rotterdam. The cruise industry, the port and the city should further expand their cooperation.”
To be able to realise the desired growth from about 30 calls to 60 calls a year, the municipality and the Port of Rotterdam invest seven million Euro to modernise the cruise terminal in 2014. Adjustments include a new boarding bridge which should be finished when the Oasis of the Seas – with 362 metres length and 65 metres width the biggest cruise vessel in the world to date – arrives in September, renovation of the façade and the luggage handling facilities and the isolation of the roof and the windows.
The cruise terminal makes the port visible to the inhabitants of Rotterdam, according to Constance Penning of Cruise Port Rotterdam: ”With every cruise vessel, the port literally comes into the city. This year, two vessels will call at the same time and locals will be present to witness this, as cruising is a major interest for the general public. In 2014, we expect 26 calls and 72,000 passengers, in 2015 57 calls and 170,000 passengers; a significant growth and I dare to predict that the years to come will show an even bigger growth.”
‘‘We see a changing trend: the experience on board becomes more and more important. Our members can cater to all sorts of target groups: the people who cruise because of the destinations, but also the people who cruise because of the cruise experience”, explains Nico Bleichrodt, chairman of CLIA The Netherlands. ”The cruise market in the Netherlands between 2009 and 2012 grew, despite the recession. In the Netherlands, source passenger figures grew by nearly four per cent, 114,000 passengers in 2013 compared to 110,000 in 2012. Our goal however is to get one per cent of all Dutch, 160,000 people, to cruise.”
Gail van den Hanenberg