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Risposte Turismo: Adriatic to See Growth in Sea Tourism in 2023

The year 2023 will be a year of growth for sea tourism in the Adriatic, according to the latest edition of the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report.

Published by tourism research and consultancy company, Risposte Turismo, the report was presented on the first day of the 5th Adriatic Sea Forum – Cruise, Ferry, Sail & Yacht in Bari and dedicated to maritime tourism in the Adriatic, an area with a marked vocation for tourism by sea, with its more than 150 tourist destinations located in 25 regions.

“We have found data that enable us to sketch out growth in 2023 vs 2022 for all the maritime tourism of the Adriatic,” Risposte Turismo President Francesco di Cesare said while presenting the data.

According to forecasts, cruise traffic will see a further revival in 2023, while growth in ferry traffic is also expected as indicated by the main ports on both coastlines. Moreover, marinas and nautical charter companies are appear confident on the volumes of customers expected in the coming year.

“Supply grows, demand grows, the result of investment, and eager efforts on the part of operators to revive pre-pandemic affairs, as well as a desire on the part of tourists to return to holidaymaking,” Risposte Turismo’s president said, adding that volumes will not return to those of 2019.

“It is right to stress the growth forecasts for 2023 vs 2022 and this year’s higher numbers vs last year. But one must also reflect on hindrances to more rapid recovery to pre-covid levels alongside the force of attraction that is so fitting for an area of such great potential and wealth as the Adriatic,” he said.

• Cruisers: 4.3 passenger movements expected (+27% vs 2022)

In regard to cruise traffic, according to Risposte Turismo’s study, 4.3 million passengers will be handled (embarking, disembarking and transiting) during 2023 at Adriatic cruise ports (up 27% on the 2022 closing forecast). However, the level is still far below the area’s historical record of 2019 (5.7 million passengers handled).

According to Risposte Turismo forecasts, Corfu will top the ranking of cruise ports in the Adriatic, with more than half a million passengers expected. Similar performance is expected in Dubrovnik (525,000) and Kotor (over 500,000). The Puglia region’s Adriatic ports are expected to host more than half a million passengers (at the ports of Bari and Brindisi).

These forecasts are the result of the projection made by Risposte Turismo based on the estimates for 16 Adriatic cruise ports: ports of call that, in total, in 2022 accounted for 69% of total passengers handled and 70% of ship calls.

• Ferry passenger movements in 2023, again in excess of 18 million

On analysis of passenger movement on ferries, hydrofoils and catamarans, the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report foresees for the top 14 Adriatic ports an increase in traffic in 2023 vs this year, albeit varying in scale. While more marked growth is expected in the eastern Adriatic area (due to the strengthening of internal connections between the mainland and islands), moderate growth or basic stability is expected to the west vs 2022. In all, the 18 million passengers threshold will once more be topped (+5-10% vs 2022).

Among the ports surveyed, we have positive forecasts for Zadar (2.3 million, +4% vs 2022), Dubrovnik 480,000, +3%), Sibenik (137,000, +3%), and Rijeka (134,000, +60%). Performance of Bari and Brindisi is good, with an increase of +10% expected (therefore in excess of about 1.1 million and 400,000 passengers, respectively).

• Nautical tourism: more than 100 million in investments ongoing or planned by 2024 in 9 nautical facilities and more than 3,000 new moorings

As in the previous editions, Risposte Turismo’s research report also contains an in-depth look at sea tourism in the seven countries bordering the Adriatic.

With reference to new marinas upcoming, and to planned investments, between the second half of 2022 and 2024 the Adriatic will see new moorings in 9 facilities (7 new and 2 expansion projects) totalling more than 3,000, with investments exceeding 100 million euros, in Italy, Croatia and Albania.

On further analysis of tourist marinas, the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report foresees growth in the occupancy rate for 2023 (from 78.3% in 2022 to 84.1%) and an increase in day-to-day transiting customers (from 68.3% in 2022 to 70.8%).

12 events and more than 50 international speakers

The program of the fifth edition of Adriatic Sea Forum included 12 events, including round tables, speeches and presentations, plus more than 50 international speakers representing the entire Adriatic maritime-tourism supply chain.

The main topics included tourist profiling; the characteristics of Adriatic maritime tourists; strategies that operators and territories can adopt to intercept tourists’ needs and expectations; the future of the ferries sector and its potentials that are not fully expressed as yet; strategies for innovation and progress; analysis of supply chains; challenges facing local operators; the draw of the Adriatic for nautical tourism; and the problems faced by companies looking to the labour market for qualified workers to further their affairs and provide the services required.

The two days in Bari also included business networking and debating the potentials and challenges posed by the Adriatic.

The 5th Adriatic Sea Forum was held in partnership with the Southern Adriatic Ports Authority, and with Pugliapromozione, the Puglia Region Tourism Board.

Dubrovnik will host the next edition of the Adriatic Sea Forum in Spring 2023.

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) was a communication sponsor of the 5th Adriatic Sea Forum.

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