The cruise growth in the north is continuing and in 2019 more than 500,000 passengers will call at the 12 ports that are members of Cruise Northern Norway and Svalbard (CNNS).
The 487,000 arriving cruise passengers in 2018 represent a 16 per cent growth compared to the previous year. The passengers are counted each time they disembark at a North Norwegian port. In other words, as around 150,000 passengers travelled to the region, they visited an average of around three ports. The number of calls increased from 380 in 2017 to 457 in 2018 (+ 20 per cent).
Almost 60 per cent of the passengers visited two ports; Tromsø and North Cape. Tromsø is now clearly the largest port in the region with 116 cruise calls and more than 140,000 arriving passengers. In comparison, North Cape had 100 cruise calls and 138,000 arriving passengers.
After a couple of years with low visitor numbers, Narvik experienced serious growth. The number of arriving passengers in 2018 quadrupled to more than 9,000. The prognosis for 2019 is equally impressive with more than 24,000 passengers expected to arrive. This represents a 12-fold increase in the number of cruise passengers to Narvik in the space of two years.
Harstad and Vesterålen are also expecting brighter times on the cruise front. Both ports can expect just over 8,000 passengers in 2019 after also experiencing growth in 2018 compared to the previous year. Bodø is expected more than 30,000 passengers, which is triple the number from two years ago.
“There was good growth in the number of calls and passengers in 2018. The prognosis for 2019 shows that this trend will level off somewhat. It is extremely pleasing to see that the smaller ports are experiencing by far the largest growth. We also see that winter cruises to Northern Norway are selling at record speed, which will almost certainly lead to cruise lines having even greater focus on the winter season. The spreading of traffic to smaller ports and throughout the year is a trend that will be strengthened in the years ahead and, as such, contributes to the distribution of value creation from the cruise traffic to more destinations,” says the Managing Director of CNNS, Erik Joachimsen.
The recent developments in the fjords in Western Norway, where several cruise lines are encountering obstacles to cruise calls, means that the cruise lines are now looking for alternative sailing routes.
“Northern Norway and Svalbard together have just as many passengers per year as Bergen. The potential for increased cruise traffic to the north is better than ever since the region has the capacity and willingness to focus on cruise all year round. Our members have excelled at adapting increasingly more to activity-based tourism, which in turn adds value to shore-based tourism,” concludes Erik Joachimsen.