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The growth of cruise tourism activity in Europe has been capitalized primarily by regions with more tradition in the sector and which present a consolidated product, such as the Baltic and Mediterranean. Despite the strong competition in these markets, with its unique features, the AA has a relatively competitive position in global cruise tourism. The strategic location, at cruise routes crossroads, between northern and southern Europe, and between the Caribbean and Europe, the large number of ports along the coastline, which offer a wide variety of destinations, and the rich cultural and environmental heritage of maritime port cities and surrounding regions, give the AA a growing potential that should be promoted.

CruiseAtlanticEurope (CAE) is a transnational cooperation project, an initiative of a group of ports on the Atlantic seaboard – Lisbon, Leixões, La Coruna, Bilbao, Dover, Lorient and Cork - and aims to promote cruise tourism in the AA. Its main objective is to strengthen the position of the Atlantic Coast in European cruise tourism through the creation and promotion of new tourism products, globally recognized by ship-owners and cruise companies, which, through the action of a network of ports, cities and regions, may stimulate Atlantic cultural and identity economic dimensions.

To achieve these objectives, the project has established a work plan that consists in organising itineraries at ports of call, based on adding value to natural and cultural resources, which contribute to give a distinct identity in the framework of international cruise tourism markets, the development of a communication and marketing plan in order to establish a strategy to promote cruise tourism in the AA and the production of advertising and promotional materials as well as promotional activities.

Among others, the results are: CAE itineraries, reformulated from a marketing point of view directed to the end customer, in order to demonstrate their commercial potential to operators and the diversity of supply in ports of call; marketing products and promotions targeted to cruise operators, such as videos and other visual media that enable a fresh look at each port, city and region included in the CAE itineraries; regular communication with the cruise industry and specialized media in order to ensure it’s updated with news and information about the wide range of products offered and guaranteeing wide media coverage.

CAE project is an important contribution to strengthening the AA’s position in the international cruise tourism market. The impact of the project goes beyond the sea-port towns involved and respective regions, reaching neighbouring regions, contributing to the endogenous development of an AA broad territory and attracting new tourism flows.

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