International Cruise and Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2019

Ports & Destinations International Cruise & Ferry Review 198 EUROPE: EVENT REPORT urope remains a very strong marketplace despite the uncertainty of Brexit,” said Hernan Zini, vice president of worldwide port operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Most major economies are growing, and outbound tourism expenditure is on the up too.” Three bold statements, but ones that set the tone for a series of positive and insightful discussions at Cruise Europe’s 2019 conference in Bruges, Belgium, which all suggested Europe’s cruise market is set to continue growing stronger in future. In fact, as Zini reported, statistics show that the cruise market as a proportion of all outbound tourism expenditure has grown by 13% over the past five years. To maintain this upward trajectory, Zini said Europe must resolve issues related to Brexit, overcrowding, the environment, operating costs, regional competition and port infrastructure. While none of these topics are new to cruise industry discussions, it’s important that they stay on the agenda until they are successfully resolved. The environment has been a hot topic at most industry conferences in recent years, and so it was in Bruges. Zini outlined his company’s key principles for protecting oceans: “Reduce, reuse, recycle; proactive pollution prevention; going above and beyond compliance; and continuous improvement.” Over 180 delegates journeyed to Bruges earlier this year for the Cruise Europe conference. Jon Ingleton was at the event to record the highlights Environmental gains in Europe “ Zeebrugge Cruise Terminal Port of Zeebrugge opened the doors to its new cruise terminal in 2018, providing passengers with a small but smart facility just a few hundred metres from the quay. The terminal’s facilities include separate arrival and departure halls, spaces with detectors for luggage and security screening, shops and restrooms. Passengers also benefit from wi-fi access. Top amenities for crew include wi-fi access, a dedicated lounge, banking facilities, discounts in shops and a shuttle service into the town centre. “We’re primarily an efficient transit port with a strong shore programme, but we can handle turnarounds for 1,000 to 2,000 passengers,” said Piet Vandenkerkhove, the port’s public relations manager. PORT SPOTLIGHT