More than 125 port and travel professionals gathered in Boston's historic Seaport District to attend the 2001 Cruise symposium. This is the third cruise symposium to be organized by ports involved in the New Atlantic Frontier Cruise Association which extends from New York and Boston to the St. Lawrence region, New Foundland and Labrador. Todays symposium is the first to be held in Boston and was coordinated by the Massachusetts Port Authority.
The symposium brought travel professionals, cruise line executives, travel suppliers, government agencies and the media to learn current trends and perspectives on the industry.
Of special interest was the prognosis of growth in New England/Canada cruising which has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Cruising is a growing industry. The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) reports that nearly 6.9 million North Americans enjoyed cruising in 2000. As North Atlantic cruising becomes increasingly popular with travelers, ports of Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John New Brunswick and Boston, Massachusetts have all seen increases in cruise numbers over the last few years.
"This is an exciting time in the cruise world," said Virginia Buckingham, executive director and CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority. "And especially in Boston which continues to prove its attractiveness as a cruise destination. This season, we expect more that 200,000 passengers to pass through our terminal, contributing in excess of $50 million to our local economy."
Port Director Mike Leone also welcomed participants. Keynote addresses were given by three cruise line executives; Andy Stuart, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Norwegian Cruise Lines, Michael Ronan, Director of Destination Development at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and James German, Brand Manager from Columbia Queen and Delta Queen Coastal Voyages.
A series of four workshops rounded out the afternoon. Featured topics included: Itinerary Planning from a Marketing Perspective Media and Public Relations Strategies and Pre and Post Tour Development. Panelists included cruise line personnel, travel professionals and the media.
In Boston, 113 ships are scheduled to call at Black Falcon Cruise Terminal this season, representing a growth of more than 125% since 1996, when only 48 cruise ships called here. In addition, eight new vessels will call at the World Trade Center, marking the first time regularly scheduled cruises will call here.
To keep up with demand, Massport has begun plans to build an expanded cruise terminal on Black Falcon Avenue. Design on the new terminal is underway with construction expected to begin this fall to be completed in 2003.