Iberian Press and La Opinion Malaga have organized this morning at the Center for Port Studies in Malaga a conference entitled ‘Málaga, preferred destination for cruise ships and mega yachts’ in which all the aspects that link the capital of the Costa del Sol with an increasingly thriving type of tourism and that has our city as one of its most important assets in the Mediterranean environment were analyzed.
Among the topics discussed were the reasons why Malaga is a consolidated cruise destination and Port Home; the key aspects for megayachts and superyachts to come to the facilities of the future marina that will soon be inaugurated at Pier One and at the corner of Pier Two in the Port of Malaga; Malaga’s competitive advantages over other coastal towns in terms of attracting luxury tourism or Malaga’s firm commitment to opening its port to the city.
The event was sponsored by Málagaport, Grupo Verlio, EVO (Evolution Yacht Agents), Ocean Capital Partners (OCP), Global Ports Holding (GPH) and the collaboration of the Port Authority of Málaga, Málaga Ciudad Genial (Tourism Area of the Malaga’s town hall), Costa del Sol Málaga (public company of the Provincial Council of Málaga) and Turismo de Andalucía (Ministry of Tourism of the Andalusian Government).
José Ramón Mendaza, director of La Opinion of Malaga, He welcomed the attendees and conveyed to the auditorium the profound transformation that Malaga has undergone in the last three decades, which had made it “a benchmark for medium-sized Spanish cities, those with around half a million inhabitants”. For Mendaza, this development had come thanks to the work carried out in a triple aspect: cultural, technological and tourist. Regarding the latter, the integration of the port and the city has led to the arrival of cruise ships, a sector that faces, in the opinion of the director of La Opinion, a triple challenge: “reaching the figures of cruise passengers prior to the pandemic , which were around half a million each year, strengthen and consolidate luxury tourism that will reach the future megayacht marina, which will come into operation next July, and thirdly, organize the Seatrade Cruise Medwhich will be held on September 14 and 15 at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos and which will be the largest cruise event in the Mediterranean, where the main shipping companies and professionals in the sector will meet and which could provide a definitive boost to cruise activity In Malaga”.
After the intervention of the director of La Opinión de Málaga, a round table moderated by Eva Miquel Subías, director of the Green & Blue Ports Project of Prensa Ibéricaentitled ‘Málaga, preferred destination for cruise ships and mega yachts’ in which they took part Javier RodriguezGPH Regional Director West Med & Asia Global Ports; Ignatius of the Riverdirector of assets of OCP and Manager of the UTE of IGY Malaga Marina; Javier Oliverexecutive director of Grupo Verlio; Pilar Fernandez-Figaresmanager at Malagaport; Fernando PachecoManaging Director MSC Cruises Spain and Susana Gutierrezdirector of the cruise terminal of the Port of Malaga.
At the round table, the speakers agreed to point out “the great work” carried out by the city of Malaga and its port in attracting cruise tourism and luxury yachting. According to Pilar Fernández-Fígares, manager at Malagaport, the key to success has come “from the coordination of the Port with all the institutions (state, local, provincial and regional), making them participants in the whole process”. For Fernando Pacheco, General Director MSC Cruises, the largest private shipping company in our country, the Spanish tourist is “very appealing” and for this reason his strategy to open embarkation and disembarkation points “like the ones we have opened in Malaga, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Alicante” with the aim of capturing that clientele “and not to go to our fiercest competitor: the bonanzas of the beaches, the climate and the Spanish coast”.
Focusing on the same line, Susana Gutiérrez, director of the cruise terminal at the Port of Malaga, explained the reasons why GPH, Global Ports Holding, the world’s largest cruise port operator, which currently operates in 26 stations in 14 countries, reaching almost a third of the sector’s market share, decided in 2015 to operate in the Malaga port “because it offered him work in the southernmost port in Europe with a lot of attractions such as the airport and the tourist attractions of a city like Malaga. Gutiérrez expressed the desire of the cruise terminal that he directs, to be “Cruise cruise base port in the future and to soon reach the numbers of cruise passengers that occurred in 2019“.
After explaining the activity of his company, OCP (Ocean Capital Partners), a strategic partner of IGY Málaga Marina in the management of the megayacht marina that will be inaugurated next July, Ignacio del Río, director of OCP assets and Manager of the UTE of IGY Malaga Marina, appealed to the “geostrategic situation of Malaga in the traffic of luxury yachts between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean” and indicated the tremendous positive economic impact that the megayacht marina is going to leave in the Malaga capital annually and that will rise to “the 100 million euros and about 800 direct and indirect jobsDel Río indicated that “without a destination like Malaga, it would have been impossible to sell the megayacht marina.”
Importance of Seatrade Cruise Med
For his part, Javier Oliver, executive director of Grupo Verlio, explained the work of a consignee company such as Grupo Verlio “the extension of a shipowner in a country other than the country of origin who empathizes with the employer to attend to all their logistical, technical, of the crew, etc” Oliver added that the destinations had had to adapt to the increase in the length of the megayachts and in this sense “Málaga had done very well because it has created an economic ecosystem and industryl in the port that attracts the crews”.
Pilar Fernández-Fígares, manager at Malagaport, referred to the “tremendous importance” that the celebration of the Seatrade Cruise Med in September will have in the city and in the port of Malaga, which will almost certainly mean “the consolidation of Malaga in the cruise sector” and highlighted the organizational work they are doing to “involve the citizens of Malaga in this fair”.
Carlos Rubio, president of the Malaga Port Authority, was in charge of closing the act. Rubio commented that the Malaga port area “is small in size, very diversified in its actions and is closely embraced by a city like Malaga, a city with an incredible cultural and gastronomic offer and a wonderful climate that make it very attractive.” Rubio pointed out the strategic lines of the Malaga port for the coming years, such as the improvement of import and export trafficespecially with North Africa; continue with the Port-City connection and in which the Malaga complex “is the one with the most open area in the entire Spanish port system”, according to Rubio; to be a benchmark in cruise tourism and luxury sailing with the forthcoming opening in July of the mega-yacht marina at Piers One and Two, and the most transversal of all: “the environmental commitment and a firm commitment for sustainability”.
Finally, Carlos Rubio made reference to the celebration in Malaga of the Seatrade Cruise Medthe most important trade fair for the cruise sector in the Mediterranean environment, from September 14 to 16, “the best showcase of our city for shipping companies and cruise route planners” and advanced the participation of the citizens of Malaga in this fair with the so-called Malaga Cruise Daysin which the Palm Grove of Surprises on Pier One “will become the deck of a ship so that everyone who passes by can feel as if they were enjoying a cruise like the ones that arrive at the port of Malaga”