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Skip Navigation · Home · Spain is still a preferred destination for cruise tourists
Spain is still a preferred destination for cruise tourists

5.6 million Cruise tourists passed through general interest ports during the first 7 months of the year

Spain is still a preferred destination for cruise tourists


  • 66% of all cruise tourists- 3.7 million- stopped over at some Mediterranean port.
  • The Spanish cruise sector employs 31,233 people and generates revenues of 1,481 M€.
  • The port of Málaga will host the XIV edition of Seatrade Cruise Med, to be held in 2020.
  • The state-owned port system will invest approximately 286 M€ in passenger infrastructures and facilities over the period 2019-2022.


09-10-2019 (Ministry of Development). A large representative group of the Spanish port system, headed by the president of Puertos del Estado, Salvador de la Encina, will be present at Europe's main cruise fair, Seatrade Europe, to be held this year in the German city of Hamburg between 11-13 September.


Spain's ports have an unbeatable letter of presentation: 5,658,513 cruise tourists travelling in 2,227 ships during the first seven months of the year passed through one of our 46 general interest ports; this has represented a 5.3% increase over the same period the previous year.


Ports along the Mediterranean are still the main breeding ground for cruises in Spain, given that two out of every three cruise tourists, i.e. 66%, stopped over at one of these Mediterranean ports, covering more than 3.7 million passengers. Not in vain, Barcelona, with 1.6 million, is Europe's main port and, along with the Balearic Islands, represent 82% of all cruise ship traffic along Spain's Mediterranean coasts.


Furthermore, the above-average increase in island destinations, particularly in the Canary Islands- +10%-, which already attract more than 1.4 million passengers, along with the solid performance of some Atlantic ports in mainland Spain, particularly A Coruña (+12.4%) and Bahía de Cádiz (+13%), foretell that the year 2019 will end, once again, with another historical maximum, which will foreseeably exceed the 10.1 million reached in 2018.


Salvador de la Encina has highlighted that, based on the latest Eurostat data, passengers who began/ended their trip at some Spanish port (considered base ports) totaled 3 million; this makes us Europe's second most popular country, just behind Italy (which 3.7 million) but ahead of Germany (2.9 million) and the United Kingdom (1.9 million).


Likewise, the president of Puertos del Estado has indicated that "although the impact of cruise ship traffic entails a lower contribution to the profit & loss account of the port system, it is gradually becoming more relevant for local and regional economies, given that a large number of indirect jobs are generated, in addition to constituting a huge incentive for tourist-related sectors". In this regard, of interest is the fact that according to the latest data submitted by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), this sector directly contributed to the Spanish economy with 1,481 million Euros in 2017, 12% more than in 2015, directly employing 31,233 people.



Seatrade Cruise Europe is the setting where the Spanish "Ports of Spain" stand, under the Blue Carpet motto, will lay out it out to welcome all its visitors. Thus, 21 Spanish Port Authorities (A Coruña, Alicante, Almería, Avilés, Bahía de Algeciras, Bahía de Cádiz, Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Cartagena, Castellón, Ceuta, Gijón, Huelva, Málaga, Melilla, Motril, Santander, Seville, Valencia, Vigo and Vilagarcía de Arousa), along with Tour Spain and other sector companies (Bergé and Marmedsa) will exhibit a wide range of destinations and services for shipping companies. The ports of Bilbao and Tarragona will also be present at the fair, as well as those in the Canary Islands, joining the Cruises Atlantic Islands stand.



Salvador de la Encina considers that Málaga's selection as the seat of the next Seatrade Cruise Med competition in 2020 is a huge plus, "constituting another opportunity to highlight Spain's potential and range of tourist services, as the preferred destination of cruise ship tourism". Málaga will be taking over from Lisbon, the city where the previous event in 2018 was held, and will join Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2016) and Barcelona (2014) as the event's organizer.

Furthermore, the president of Puertos del Estado has announced that the state-owned port system is expected to invest approximately 286 M€ in passenger infrastructures and facilities, over the period 2019-2022, of which more than 219 M€ will be strictly assigned to cruise liners, to include extension of the attached wharf in the port of Barcelona (54 M€); various works in the port of Palma de Mallorca (116 M€); the southern harbor wall in the port of Tarragona (25 M€) or extension of the cruise liner wharf in the port of Arrecife (15 M€).


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