The French cruise industry has been presented with a report during the Seatrade Med Cruise Convention in Cannes, entitled ‘Essor Prometteur des Croisières en France’ (‘Promising Growth for Cruises in France’).
The report points out that France remains backward compared with other countries around the Mediterranean, noting in particular the lack of cruise terminals and berths able to handle the latest generation of cruise ships, which may be over 300 metres in length. The report also highlights weaknesses in personnel training, difficulties in victualling cruise ships, and the lack of pre/post programmes for visitors.
The industry welcomed some 2.7 million passengers in French ports last year, generating revenues estimated at €1 billion and maintaining some 15,000 jobs. However, this represents only 12% of a total Mediterranean cruise market estimated at 25 million passengers, far behind Italy and Spain with market shares of 40% and 20%. According to the report, the cruise business in both countries generates some 100,000 jobs and brings in up to €4 billion in tourist revenues.
Marseille is rapidly becoming France’s top cruise port of call with over 700,000 passengers, followed by the French Riviera (Nice/ Villefranche / Cannes) with a total of 600,000 passengers, mostly on one-day visits due to the absence of proper cruise terminals and port facilities. Authorities in Nice are now looking at the possibility of expanding the city’s marina at Saint Laurent du Var, a resort close to the French Riviera capital.
By contrast, Monaco welcomed some 400,000 cruise visitors last year, thanks to its new US$200 million breakwater, which doubled the port’s capacity and allows two 170 metre ships to berth at the breakwater simultaneously. Between 2005 and 2010, Monaco’s cruise activity increased by almost 200%!
The newly appointed French Secretary for Tourism, Fréderic Lefebvre, has explained that he would like to prioritise marketing activities for the cruise industry. Atout France has already announced that it will boost the country’s presence during the next Seatrade Miami, the world’s largest trade fair for the cruise industry.