The Port of Tarragona inaugurated, on October 29, the new Balears Wharf – the new multipurpose infrastructure adjoining the Llevant breakwater.
For the president of the Port of Tarragona, Josep M Cruset, ‘in two years this new wharf will allow us to return to the record figure of 128,000 passengers we reached in 2019.’ He added that ‘the construction of the new cruise terminal would mean having a new convenient functional area of more than 5,000 m2 to provide an improved service to cruise ship passengers in the coming seasons.’
In his speech, Cruset highlighted the ‘step forward’ represented by this new infrastructure. The Balears Wharf increases the dockside mooring for cruise liners by 700 metres and offers a much more convenient and agile operation. The infrastructure represents a qualitative improvement for cruise activity, as it opens the door to accommodate larger liners and allows more vessels (up to four) to tie up simultaneously.
The investment of more than 30 million euros has increased by 40 hectares (40,000 m2) the space available for cruise operations. The construction work began in May 2020, during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having overcome all the logistics and sanitary challenges, it was completed a year and a half later.
The evolution of the cruise project in Tarragona
The Balears Wharf will strengthen and improve Costa Daurada’s tourism diversification and deseasonlisation strategy. It is an activity with the opportunity to grow in the coming years and generates business in the months before and after the summer high season.
The Tarragona cruise project is a task undertaken with the consensus of the territory’s main institutions, which are represented on the Institutional Cruise Board. The main administrations, entities and companies in the tourism sector of the Costa Daurada are at present: Turisme de Catalunya, URV (Eurecat Department of Tourism Innovation – Technological Centre of Catalonia), Tarragona Provincial Government, Tarragona Chamber of Commerce, the town councils of Tarragona, Reus and Vila-seca, PortAventura, Reus Airport and the Province of Tarragona Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs.
Between 2013 and 2019, the cruise project has accounted for almost 200 calls and more than 300,000 cruise passengers. The efforts of all the institutions involved have succeeded in multiplying the number of calls by 20 between 2013 and 2019, going from three in 2013 to 63 in 2019 and the number of passengers by one hundred in just seven years, from 1,394 in 2013 to 128,000 in 2019.
The cruise activity in the Port of Tarragona attracts a wide diversity of tourists from Europe and America. The most numerous are Italians (90,661); the second largest group is British tourists (51,793); and the third, fourth and fifth respectively are 36,927 from France, 14,900 from North America and 14,000 from Germany.
The historical, cultural and gastronomic heritage has persuaded 94% of cruise passengers who stop over in Tarragona to visit destinations on the Costa Daurada: Tarragona (Tarraco Romana, Altafulla, Salou and Port Aventura), Baix Camp (Reus and Cambrils), Alt Camp (Monastery of Santes Creus and Nulles cooperative winery), Conca de Barberà (Poblet Monastery and Montblanc), Priorat and the Ebro Delta. Excursions, activities and consumer services generate a positive economic impact of some 10 million euros each year (9.7 million euros in exact terms.)
The tourist attractions receive very high ratings each year according to the satisfaction monitoring. Cruise passengers rate the destination of Tarragona as excellent (overall rating nine out of 10) and 94.2% of visitors say they will recommend Tarragona/Costa Daurada to their friends and family.
The Balears Wharf in figures
• Built in 17 months, overcoming the obstacles arising from the COVID-19 pandemic between May 2020 to September 2021
• Cost: 30 million euros
• New wharf with four hectares of surface area (40,000 m2)
• 700 metres of cruise liner mooring: 460 m exterior and 240 m interior
• 33 fenders and 33 bollards with 200-ton load capacity
• Pre-installation for electricity supply to small and medium-sized cruise ships
Cruise activity expansion and improvement
• Ability to receive four cruise ships simultaneously
• Ability to accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world
• New terminal and improvement of passenger operating services
• Communications and mobility improvements
To find out more, watch the video here.