The cruise ship industry has experienced a boom since the pandemic. It is predicted that 800,000 cruise ship passengers will visit Valencia in 2022, double the number of visitors from 2019 with 219 port stops scheduled for this year. This will have a positive impact, directly and indirectly, on businesses, jobs and in turn the economy. So much so, the estimated economic impact on Valencia is predicted to be €70 million this year alone. However, it is not just the economic impact of cruise ship tourists which needs to be evaluated but also the social and environmental impacts they have on the city, too.
ForwardKeys collaborated with VisitValencia and conducted research based on the trends and movements of cruise ship passengers when they visit the Port of Valencia. This innovative way of monitoring the impact of cruise ship tourists is fundamental to helping manage and build positive relationships between the cruise ship tourism sector and local businesses and communities. For ForwardKeys, studies like these will provide valuable market feedback as to the new data smarts the company is working on that look more in depth at tourist behaviour in the destination.
The city of Valencia is highly focussed on building a sustainable future as a touristic city and was awarded the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022. Armed with the dataset from ForwardKeys, Valencia has a comprehensive insight into the effect of tourism on the city and in turn can develop an accurate destination marketing strategy and manage the sustainability of the social, environmental and economic impact on the city. Not only would this improve daily life in the city for the local population but also improve the overall experience of the city for tourists.
How can geolocation data help Valencia?
From the study conducted by ForwardKeys and VisitValencia in 2019, they were able to identify the trends of movements, popular locations and activities as well as the advanced demographics of those passengers. Based on this research, we can see that 83% of the cruise passengers leave the ship and 17% stay onboard or within the vicinity of the port. The geolocation data shows that the passengers who make their way into the city are more likely to stay in the city between 9am and 3pm, before returning to the ship in the afternoon. They typically visit the usual tourist hotspots such as: the City of Arts and Sciences, Malvarrosa Beach as well as the city center.
It is estimated that on average, a cruise tourist will spend €146 during their stay in Valencia. According to research, 39% of cruise ship passengers will spend most money on retail shopping, followed by 31% of passengers spending money on the hospitality sector. With the dataset from ForwardKeys, we can see that currently cruise passengers are more likely to visit Nuevo Centro, Corte Ingles, Av. Francia or Aqua Multiespacio to go shopping. However, by adapting marketing strategies for areas such as Calle Colon, Poeta Querol and Calle de las Cestas for shopping, it would help decrease the concentrated impact currently experienced by the overvisited shopping areas.
The geolocation data highlights lesser visited museums like IVAM, Bellas Artes and MuVUM, which would benefit from increased traffic and in turn would lower the impact on current popular areas. The hop-on hop-off sight-seeing bus is a fantastic way to see and get a feel for the city but it also serves as a great way of travelling around and reaching places outside of the city center and further away from the port, such as: Bioparc and the Parque Cabecera.
What is the future for Valencia and cruise tourism?
The data collected by ForwardKeys is concise and accurate and clearly identifies popular routes and areas frequented by cruise passengers, as well as highlighting areas and attractions that receive less attention. This data is the key to helping diversify the itinerary of a cruise ship passenger and in turn, lower the overall impact of a cruise ship’s stay in Valencia. With innovative use of geolocation data to help manage the impact of cruise tourism on destinations, a sustainable cruise tourism future is possible.
ForwardKeys is a market leader in establishing travel trends and insights into who is travelling and when and where they are going. Through this data, they have successfully helped companies and travel destinations understand and in turn maximise the benefits for businesses. With their new innovative analysis of geolocation data, local, regional and national DMOs can use this to better understand the economic impact of tourists in a destination and take actions accordingly.
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