The Port of Tallinn plans to establish a new and larger, 420-metre berth for cruise ships beside the existing cruise berth by autumn of the next year. The total cost of the project is nearly ten million euros.
According to Sirle Arro, Business Manager of cruise and ferry activities of the Port of Tallinn, the need for the new berth comes from the increased number of cruise tourists.
“We will probably reach half a million cruise tourists and 350 cruise ships per season in the next few years – the number of tourists will be increased also by the implementing of turnaround, that is starting and ending of cruise trips in Tallinn,” noted Arro in the company’s press release.
“This Saturday, 14th of July the largest turnaround to date took place in cooperation with Tallinn Airport; we served thousands of cruise tourists arriving from Spain on airplanes and there was a record number of six cruise ships simultaneously in Tallinn on Sunday – while we have had to receive some cruise ships in the Muuga Harbour in previous years, it’s still natural that the entire cruise business should be concentrated in the city centre in future,“ said Arro.
“In addition to the number of tourists increasing, we also need to account for increasing size of the cruise ships arriving in Tallinn; this requires a longer berth,” remarked Arro.
„Cruise tourists bring revenue for hundreds of enterprises and for the budgets of the city and the country as well, and the task of the Port of Tallinn is to support the development of tourism by way of developing the infrastructure and promoting Tallinn as a cruise destination,“ said Arro.
A construction project has been prepared for the berth; in autumn the Port of Tallinn will announce a public procurement for construction works and the initial plans are for the berth to be completed as early as autumn of the next year. The new berth will also be wider than the old one; this allows better access for service transport. The new berth will also be ready for connecting to the municipal sewage network.
The 339-metre long first berth of the Old Harbour intended for cruise ships was completed in spring of year 2004 and its cost at the time was over 80 million kroons. In the spring of this year the Port of Tallinn in cooperation with OÜ Eesti Suveniirid opened a trade village on the cruise berth, where Estonian-produced goods are sold in a 300 m2 sales pavilion and 26 sales outlets.
In addition to sales of handicraft and Estonian foodstuffs, the trade area of the cruise berth offers an information counter, currency exchange services, jewellery store and a catering outlet. The trade area is located within the customs control zone and is not open to the general public of the city; the trade area will be open for business until the end of the cruise season, i.e. until 30 September.
This season the Port of Tallinn is expecting 294 cruise ship visits, bringing a total of over 430,000 cruise passengers to see the city. The main sightseeing destination of cruise tourists is the Old Town and also the recently completed Seaplane Harbour and Television Tower, but several travel agencies are also organising trips outside the city for cruise tourists, for example excursions into the Lahemaa National Park, canoe trips on the Keila River and ATV safaris in the Männiku Quarry.
According to the questionnaire of the Port of Tallinn, an average cruise tourist spends 41 euros in Tallinn; this means that the total amount of money that the trade and service enterprises of Tallinn receive from all cruise tourists during a season is ca. 17 million euros. Additionally, cruise tourists bring income by buying excursions, museum tickets, etc., and the crew members of the ships also make numerous visits to the city during their shore time.
The same questionnaire also indicates that 97% of cruise passengers recommend Tallinn as a destination to their friends and acquaintances. 66% of cruise tourists have the opinion that they will definitely or probably return to Tallinn for a longer vacation.