For the first time in Spain's history the ports have welcomed over 10 million cruise ship passengers, reaching a higher level within the global cruise tourism context.
According to State-owned Spanish Port System Puertos del Estado, this figure places Spain second in Europe for the number of cruise passengers, with several Spanish ports leading the European ranking and even listed among the world's top 50 ports, as is the case of the ports of Barcelona, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Malaga, Valencia, Cadiz, Cartagena and Vigo.
In the last 25 years, the volume of cruise passengers has multiplied by 18, from just over 480,000 visitors in 1992, to the above-mentioned 10 million in 2018.
"The experts agree our country still has a major potential for growth. Therefore, factors like deseasonalization, diversification of destinations, consolidating our ports for embarking/disembarking, together with dropping costs for both air and sea transport, have resulted in increased affordability of cruises for a large segment of the population, with highly competitive prices and a great variety of services," said a release.
The situation also applies to scheduled services, which have also seen a progressive increase in tourists year after year. In 2018 there was a total of 26 million passengers using scheduled services, a 4% increase over the previous year.
Although the majority of scheduled services are between the Spanish Mainland and North Africa and the Spanish Islands, there has been a significant increase in passengers using the routes between Spain and Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The importance of the ports and cruise tourism as a driving force for Spain's economic activity cannot be denied, it said.
The contribution of the cruise industry is of great importance for our economy, as the volume of business generated in Spain amounts to over 1,255 million euros, generating employment (direct, indirect and induced) for over 26,400 people and accounting for 10.9% of the GDP for the domestic tourism industry. Cruise tourism also promotes other regions within the country, including inland tourism.