Turkish-based Global Ports Holding (GPH) has signed a 15-year management agreement with the Cuban company Aries SA, to operate Havana’s cruise port.
Under the terms of the Agreement, from 21st June, 2018, GPH will manage all of Havana’s cruise port operations throughout the life of the Agreement.In return, the Group will be paid a management fee that is based on a number of factors, including passenger numbers, with growth based incentives.
In addition to operating the cruise port, GPH will continue to work with its Cuban partners on the design and technical specification of the cruise port investment programme, including proposed new terminals.
Once these have been completed, GPH will take on the responsibility for the marketing and commercialisation of these new facilities.
This agreement is part of significant investment by Cuba into the port area and the tourism infrastructure in Havana. The port currently has two berths and in 2017 welcomed about 328,000 cruise passengers, a growth rate of 156% compared to 2016. Over 500,000 cruise passengers are forecast to visit Havana this year.
As part of Cuba’s significant investment programme on the port and surrounding area, the number of berths will increase to six by 2024.
The port is located at the heart of Havana and only a 30-minute drive from Jose Marti International Airport, making it an ideal homeporting destination, GPH said.
Chairman and co-founder, Mehmet Kutman, said:“I am very happy that we have signed an agreement for Havana Cruise Port, the first step in the Group’s growth strategy for the Americas. This spectacular city and country is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, with visitors attracted by world famous architecture, a vibrant music scene and the famous local hospitality. We very much look forward to working with our Cuban partners to deliver a fantastic cruise port experience.”
CEO, Emre Sayin added:“We are delighted to have been awarded the management contract for the Havana cruise port and look forward to playing our role in developing the cruise port and the wider visitor experience in Havana, as well as Cuba more broadly.
”This represents our first agreement in the Caribbean, in line with our strategy of expansion into the Americas cruise port market and therefore marks an important step in the development of Global Ports Holding. The GPH team looks forward to working with our local partners and local staff to drive continued growth in cruise passenger volumes at Havana Port and deliver both world class cruise port facilities and a great cruise experience for all passengers visiting Havana,”he said.
The Caribbean is the largest cruise market in the world, with around 9.6 mill passengers enjoying a cruise in the region last year, representing a global market share of about 35%. It has continued to grow strongly in recent years, with passenger volumes rising at CAGR of 4.5% since 2012.
Industry forecasts indicate that growth is expected to continue over the medium term. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is currently forecasting capacity in the Caribbean to grow at a CAGR of over 6% through 2020, which is above the long term CAGR of 5.4% that has been experienced globally since 2001.