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Destination Chioggia 2023: Chioggia’s new cruise model

Determined to ensure safe and efficient operations, the port of Chioggia is ready for the new cruise season which is due to start on 16th March with the arrival of the first ship of 2023.  Following the very positive experience of 2022, which saw the port of Chioggia welcome over 16,000 cruise passengers for the first time, the Port Authority and the Cruise Commissioner’s office have worked in partnership with the Municipality of Chioggia, the Harbour Master’s Office, Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, and the interested cruise lines to expand the calendar of luxury cruise ships’ arrivals, promoting the city as a destination in its own right.

The number of calls is expected to increase from 13 in 2022 to 36, thanks to the involvement of four cruise lines. In addition to Sea Dream Yacht Club and Viking, which had already called at Chioggia last year, Azamara Cruises and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will also plan their itineraries departing from Chioggia. Luxury cruises will stop in Chioggia for 2-3 days each, bringing around 55,000 tourists, mainly from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. For the vast majority of cruise passengers (about 90%) Chioggia will serve as a homeport. The proposed itineraries will be open-ended, departing from Chioggia along the Eastern Adriatic-Mediterranean route with disembarkation in Venice and Piraeus or the Western Adriatic-Mediterranean route with stops in Civitavecchia and Barcelona.

Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, Cruise Commissioner and President of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority, stated: “In 2023 the port of Chioggia aims to become a fully-fledged cruise destination in its own right; at the same time it will serve as a sort of laboratory for developing a new model of tourist enjoyment of the city and the surrounding area, capable of fostering economic and employment  growth while respecting high sustainability standards and enhancing the history, culture, landscape, and traditional crafts and trades  of Chioggia and the lagoon. Most importantly, local residents must have an active role. To boost cruising in Chioggia, the Port Authority has also conceived the ‘Destination Chioggia’ project and tasked a consulting firm with facilitating the destination building process with the active engagement of local stakeholders. The aim is that of developing a tourist offer attentive to the needs of the local community. After analysing global tourism trends, stakeholders will be encouraged to come up with ideas on how  to ensure quality welcome services capable of reconciling the times of tourism with those of the city  while promoting and enhancing local identity and a quality tourist offer. During the year we will also implement measures to improve the port’s competitiveness. We’ll start with dredging navigation channels back to a draught of  -7 metres, then we’ll build new mooring bollards for bigger motor boats, prepare the quays for ship mooring, improve the access to the Saloni Island port and fit  the terminal  with better lighting.”

Mauro Armelao, Mayor of Chioggia, stated: “I wish to thank everyone who collaborated to achieve this important result. Relaunching cruising in Chioggia while recovering parts of the city that were abandoned, like the Saloni Port, has always been one of our goals. It was a team effort, for which I want to thank primarily  the President of the Port Authority, Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, for the Port Authority has invested €100,000 to make Chioggia ready to welcome cruise passengers. My thanks also go to the Harbourmaster, Dario Riccobene, who has meticulously overseen the safety aspects and to the cruise lines that have chosen our port. Managing visitor flows remains our priority: we want to ensure respect for the city and its residents while providing tourists with services that will make their holidays unforgettable. The local economy will, of course, benefit from the arrival of cruise passengers, who, as we know, want to experience the city and its surroundings: that can be an economic driver for the entire region. This is why I strongly supported the vertiport project in Chioggia: with vertical mobility, tourists arriving here can not only reach Venice airport in 15 minutes but also visit other beautiful places in the Veneto region. The City of Chioggia must team up to make this beautiful dream come true and last over time.”

Fabrizio Spagna, President and CEO of Venezia Terminal Passeggeri S.p.A, stated: “The cruise season in Chioggia officially begins with the arrival of the first ship next Thursday: this is  a key date for the distributed ports project. The goal is to create a system that employs  a sustainable tourism model to promote the region. Almost all the cruise ships arriving in Chioggia this year belong to the luxury tourism segment and will use Chioggia as homeport. This means that passengers will stop for two or three days and will have a chance to explore non only Venice,  but also Chioggia and its mainland and the entire region. This is a deliberate choice that focuses on quality tourism compatible with the needs of the city and its inhabitants.”

The Harbourmaster of Chioggia, Dario Riccobene, stated: “Last year was a trial season, a test and a challenge for everyone: the Viking ships were, and still are, the largest ships to have called at the port of Chioggia. 2022 was the first year in which non-sporadic cruise activities were organised in Chioggia using a systemic approach to manage arrivals. We worked to build a shared project with stakeholders, including public bodies, authorities, maritime agencies, and technical-nautical services. Such public-private collaboration was fundamental as it allowed achieving  positive results in a relatively short time and enabled the smooth and safe operation of the new passenger traffic. A specific regulation was issued: Ordinance No. 59 of 2022 regulates passenger ship navigation in the port area and establishes operational limits taking into account the geomorphological characteristics of the channels, the structural conditions of docks and quays and the depths. At the end of the 2022 season, input, observations and reports were collected from all stakeholders, including shipping companies and, above all, ship commanders. A report was drawn up containing findings and a list of interventions and actions that were needed to improve current infrastructures and make mooring safer and more efficient. The document was shared with the Port Authority and the Cruise Commissioner’s office, and a programme of measures was agreed upon: starting from a simulation study of entry and exit manoeuvres from the port, specific activities were planned, including channel maintenance, the installation of some new bollards and procedures related to traffic and protected access to port areas. Once the final study is completed and all the measures are in place, we will evaluate whether to amend the current safety ordinance to make the entry and exit procedures for ships easier. This year, four different cruise companies have scheduled around 35 arrivals over a longer period of time (March-October), so we must also take into account and carefully assessed the different weather conditions that might arise. In our role as privileged observers, we will ensure constant vigilance and support safe operations, following the principles of continuous improvement and greater efficiency.”