The European cruise market continues to break all records. Direct expenditure up 22%, over 4m Europeans cruising, and the top two European source markets, UK and Germany producing double-digit growth in 2008. With such a positive mood prevailing, Seatrade Europe 2009 promises to be the best yet.
Despite the current international economic climate, cruising is the fastest growing travel market. According to analysis by the Deutscher ReiseVerband (German Travel Association), the number of German cruise and river cruise passengers grew by 18 percent to 1.3 million in 2008. Tour operators and cruise shipping companies are also optimistic for 2009. More than half of the requested companies expect an increase in passengers and turnover, or at least a constant satisfying result. In the long term the European cruise shipping companies are expecting steady growth rates. The Hamburg based consulting company SeaConsult predicts that the German cruise market will increase to 2 million cruise passengers by 2018.
Seatrade Europe will include Superyachts for the first time this year to complete the existing highlights of cruise, river cruise and ferry, and to support the strong synergy between all segments.
New Exhibitors at Seatrade Europe 2009
“Seatrade Europe will continue to grow this year. That’s why the event will take place at the exhibition area of Hamburg Messe and Congress in hall A4 for the first time. This new hall offers the perfect framework for Seatrade Europe and enough space for the exhibitors. Additionally modern congress facilities are available directly next to the exhibition“, says Bernd Aufderheide, Executive Director of Hamburg Messe und Congress.
Numerous exhibitors already confirmed include the Caribbean Village with nine Caribbean destinations. Newcomers include the port associations Cruise Atlantic Europe, French Riviera Ports and Suncruise Andalucia. Also for the first time at Seatrade Europe the Dutch cutlery company Sola and the table and kitchenware supplier WMF will present their developments, confirming that the introduction of “Hotel and Catering” in 2007 is already becoming a well established part of the event.
The big cruise shipyards such as Meyer Werft in Papenburg and STX (former Aker Yards) will also participate again and present their latest developments and concepts to the professional world.
Beside the exhibition and conference, Seatrade Europe will again offer the popular Cruise Agent Training, a free of charge training programme for travel agents focusing on cruise and river cruise holidays. Travel agents are the most important distribution channel for cruises with 90% of UK cruise sales being bought through travel agents, according to a recent survey by Carnival UK.
Another highlight will be the presentation of the Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards. These recognise excellence in various categories and will be presented at Seatrade Europe’s welcome reception.
Strong growth rates for cruise shipping
The upbeat approach is also being generated by North European destinations, which are also experiencing growth. “Almost 8 million cruise passengers visited North European ports in 2008. This represents a 22% rise in passengers compared with the previous year”, says Chris Hayman, Managing Director of Seatrade. And there is still a lot of potential. More and more international – mainly North American – cruise companies discover North Europe as an alternative to the traditional destinations like the Caribbean and insert ship capacities to the European market.
“Historically the cruise sector has proved to be recession resilient”, Hayman explained. “2009 may prove to be no exception evidenced by solid demand in the North American and European source markets”. The all-inclusive appeal and the brilliant price/performance ratio are unbeatable arguments for cruise vacations.
The future of the ferry industry also looks favourable. The Verband der Fahrschifffahrt und Fahrtouristik (Association of Ferry Shipping and Tourism) notes a growing demand, with the decrease in fuel prices making car journeys more attractive.
Shipyards and suppliers are also benefiting. Compared to the freight shipping industry, the small but sophisticated niche market for cruise ship building is comparatively solid with seventeen cruise ships currently on order for the European market, for delivery between now and 2012.
Since its inception in 2001, Seatrade Europe has developed into one of the top industry meeting places. Every two years the port metropolis at the river Elbe becomes the centre of the international cruise industry where decision makers get together, discuss, set trends and present innovations. 2009 will see Seatrade Europe return to its home in Hamburg, attracting the leading opinion formers in the cruise, rivercruise, ferry and superyacht industries.
Seatrade Europe – Cruise, Ferry, Rivercruise & Superyacht Convention will take place from 15 to 17 September 2009 at the Hamburg Messe Fairground, Hall A4. The venue is open on 15 and 16 September from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on 17 September from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entry is restricted to approved trade visitors.