Turkey creates 13 port cruise ship platform

Turkey creates 13 port cruise ship platform

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey creates 13 port cruise ship platform

This photo shows Kuşadası port, which hosted 500,000 cruise ship passengers last year alongside İzmir port. Hürriyet photo

Turkey has established a “Turkey Cruise Ship Platform” consisting of 13 port cities in an attempt to secure a larger slice of the global tourism pie.

The cruise industry is growing, and Turkey needs to grab a larger share of the market, İzmir Chamber of Trade (İZTO) Chair Ekrem Demirtaş said at a recent forum.

“In 2003, only ships that had lost their way would come to İzmir, but last year İzmir hosted 504,000 cruise tourists,” said Demirtaş, adding that their goal was for all of Turkey’s port cities to achieve the same level of success. He said this was particularly possible since all of Turkey’s port cities enjoyed great weather.

Among the port cities to be part of the platform are Istanbul, İzmir, Mersin, İskenderun, Trabzon, Çeşme, Çanakkale, Marmaris and Kuşadası, among others.

The decision was made at a meeting at İZTO attended by port presidents from the various port cities in Turkey, the chambers of commerce and trade, chambers of sea trade, municipalities and representatives from the governor’s offices.

He said the new platform, with the representation of members of the Transportation, Maritime and Communication, and Culture and Tourism ministries, would soon take the name of “The Union of Turkish Cruise Ship Ports,” following a Cabinet decree.

Demirtaş also said there was currently no body to oversee that cruise ships docking at Turkish ports received superior service and no marketing or know-how to increase potential.

Touching on the construction of a new cruise ship port in İzmir, Demirtaş invited investors to take part in the Sept. 7 tender for the port. With the completion of the port, İzmir will be able to host 2 million cruise passengers, Demirtaş said.

Greece, Turkey should cooperate

Meanwhile, the president of the Greek Ports Association and president of the Piraeus Port, George Anomeritis said July 3 that Turkey and Greece had to engage in close cooperation with each other in the cruise ship industry.

Anomeritis, a former Greek minister of agriculture and tourism, visited Demirtaş along with the chief executive officer of the Medcruise Line, Stavros Hatzakos.

Piraeus and İzmir happen to be the two biggest ports in the area, Anomeritis said.

Cruise tourism cannot thrive with a single port. All ports in the region have to be successful for cruise tourism, Anomeritis said.

“We are not merely connected by a sea. Cruise ships unite us as well. Both Piraeus and İzmir market tourism and civilization. As ports in the eastern Mediterranean, we need to closely cooperate,” Anomeritis said.

Meanwhile, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said yesterday at the Seatrade Turkish Cruise Ship Forum in İzmir that if Turkey were to partner with Greece, the Aegean Sea would become the top tourism destination in the world.

“Nine years ago, we only had 3,000 visitors to İzmir; last year, there were 500,000 for İzmir and Kuşadası. I couldn’t believe the number for İzmir. This year we anticipate 600,000,” he said.

Seatrade President Chris Hayman also said that in 2011 Turkey had hosted over 2.2 million cruise passengers. Hayman added that in 2011 there were 170 cruise ships in the Mediterranean and that 206 were expected this year.