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TLC for the cruise industry

Joshua G. Giordimaina,
Giordimaina, DipM MCIM

Cruise tourism is good financial news for visiting countries, according to the recent report “Contribution of
Cruise Tourism to the economies of Europe”, published by the European Cruise Council.

Demand for cruising holidays is increasing. More than 3.6 million passengers embarked on a cruise from a
European port in 2006, a 27 per cent increase over the previous year. Over eighty per cent of these were
European nationals. The vast majority of these cruises visited ports in the Mediterranean, the Baltic and other
European regions, generating 15.2 million passenger visits at European port cities, a 21 per cent increase over

The report goes on to show that the cruise industry generated an estimated 10.6 billion euros in direct
spending by cruise liners and their passengers throughout Europe in 2006, generating 225,586 full-time
equivalent jobs. At least 107,780 of these were directly generated by cruise tourism expenditures, including
port services and cruise industry employment, transportation of cruise passengers, travel agent commissions,
spending for tours before and after cruise stays in European port cities, passenger retail spending, and
purchases of supplies by the cruise lines from European businesses.

Malta is, of course, part of this scenario, and as such needs to feed the industry with the right formula to grow
into a successful performer in a sustainable manner. The cruise industry, in 2006, left the country with €77
million in total compensation impacts, accounting for one per cent of the total European impact. This is quite
an achievement in itself when considering that, unlike its neighbours, Malta is a single-port country and,
primarily, a destination market.
This year, according to VISET Malta plc, developers and operators of the Valletta Cruise Terminal and the
Valletta Waterfront, the Port of Valletta can expect to receive a record-breaking half a million cruise

Increasing Malta’s share of this growing global industry requires a holistic approach. A number of challenges
have been identified to be won if cruise tourism is to stay on top of the game. And the common thread
amongst these challenges is one: effective human resources management.

Malta’s success relies strictly on the country’s human resources, from the management of all the players in the
sector, to the package the Islands offer in terms of product and service from the moment the liner’s gangway
is hauled out to the last memories passengers embrace as they sail out of our majestic Grand Harbour. The
benefit? Apart from the direct economic impact, we have the opportunity of giving the best possible one-day
experience of Malta to half-a-million cruise passengers annually, and motivate them to come back to the
Maltese Islands on a full holiday. Only in this manner can we ensure the long-term sustainable growth of
cruise tourism … not to mention the gains that mainstream tourism also stands to make.

However, in order to reach this aim, traditional practices and mentalities of the type ‘that’s how we have
always done things’ need to be turned upside down to reflect the new requirements of this modern, and
continuously evolving, industry. We need to go beyond changing current practices, to a complete cultural

To implement a strategy that exploits these opportunities one needs a motivated mentality to do things
passionately as they should be. Formal education, even in the recreational industry, needs to be integrated
within a context of professional development and learning opportunities. Unless our human resources and
labour practices reach every individual’s potential to do what they love, enjoy and are strong at doing rather
than what an organisation tries to make them be, our product remains a half-baked solution to a hunger

While the cruise industry calls for tender loving care.

Author Details
Joshua G Giordimaina DipM MCIM
Marketing Executive
VISET Malta plc

For citation purposes

Joshua G Giordimaina DipM MCIM, “TLC for the cruise industry”, The Times of Malta, 6 May 2008.