The chairman of the European Cruise Council has issued a statement where he calls for an easier and more streamlined process for issuing visas to non-EU cruise passengers.
Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovido, who made the comments during his keynote speech at the Seatrade Mediterranean Cruise and Superyacht Convention in Marseille, believes that this is the best way to unlock the huge potential of the international market.
“The opportunities to attract cruise tourists from other parts of the world to Europe – with its unique and rich cultural heritage – are enormous. We are concerned, however, that this huge potential is being hampered by unnecessarily bureaucratic procedures for the issuing of tourist visas into Europe.
“Unlocking this potential would be greatly assisted by international action to facilitate and simplify the process of issuing tourist visas to cruise passengers from around the world wishing to experience a European cruise.”
He also said that he was encouraged by certain figures – notably commission vice president Antonio Tajani – who has recognised the urgent need to act on the visa issue, if the EU wants to remain a competitive destination.
In total 5.6 million people cruised in Europe in 2011 – a figure which has doubled since 2001. Approximately one million of those are non-European nationals. It is also believed that passenger and crew spend totalled EUR3.5 billion during visits to 250 ports in the last year.