By: Chris Graeme
THE ADMINISTRATION of the Port of Lisbon (APL) is to build a new 44 million euro cruise ship terminal at Santa Apolónia, its administrative board announced last week.
The swank new terminal will have the capacity to receive five cruise ships simultaneously. The first phase of the construction work involves an investment of nine million euros, will start in the summer and be concluded sometime in 2008.
The new facility was announced on Thursday (April 19) on the occasion of the signing of a protocol between the APL and the Lisbon Tourism Association (ATL), with a view to improving the conditions in which visitors on cruises are welcomed in Lisbon. It is also a firm confirmation of the importance that the cruise ship industry has on Portugal’s and, in particular, Lisbon’s tourism sector.
The protocol agreement includes the adoption of immediate measures to improve the passenger terminal Rocha Conde d’Obidos which will be modernised and enlarged. Lisbon’s other two cruise ship terminals will also undergo a major facelift with construction and enlargement works being carried out at both Santa Apolónia and Alcântara.
Among the various improvements to be developed in the project is a new Reception and Visitors Centre, duty free shops and Tourist Information Bureau including a mobile ATL Post and Desk where visitors can purchase a Lisbon Card and pre-paid taxi vouchers for the city and region.
“The idea is to create a more efficient and welcoming area for visiting tourists since first impressions count. We already do this at the Portela Airport in Lisbon with the help desks and information posts, and the system has worked exceptionally well,” said ATL Director-General Vítor Costa.
With a consistent growth over the past 10 years, cruise ship tourism is, according to Vítor Costa, “a very attractive segment of the tourism market for Lisbon, its hotels, shops and restaurants”.
Although cruise ship traffic into the Port of Lisbon had been slightly down on 2004, in 2005, the number of so-called turnaround passengers whose starting or destination point was Lisbon, increased overall by 25 per cent, reaching 44,000 passengers a year.
Now, Turismo de Lisboa and other entities are interested in exploiting a ‘Cruise and Stay’ package where cruises end in Lisbon and include two or three nights in the city and its environs.
There is also positive evidence from market research that people visiting Lisbon on cruises either came back later to spend a long weekend or city break in the city or sent friends and other relatives.
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