Marketing Malta as A cruise destination

1.1 Introduction The cruise industry is an exciting, midern and rapidly expanding global industry. During the current decade, new cruising opportunities for vacationers have developed and the overall passenger cruise industry has continued to expand its capacity, mainly driven by a record number of new ships coming into service. the future outlook seems extremely bright with extraordinary opportunities for the industry, its customers and supplies (WTTC, IFTO, IH&RA and ICCL, 2002). The year ended 2005 was a promising year for cruise tourism in Malta with a passenger numbers up by over 12% when compared to the previous year,with over 330 cruise ships calling at Valletta's Grand Harbour. An estimated 310,000 cruise passengers visited Malta last year and the projections for 2006 are that the number of ship calls and cruise passengers handled will increase further (Seatrade Cruise Review Supplement). The coming year could be a defining year for Malta's cruise aspirations with the inauguration of the Cruise Passenger Terminal. Expected over the coming months is the next phase of the Valletta Waterfront Project driven by the VISET Consortium- and the arrival of Star Cruises' Super Star Libra in June which will be using Valletta as a home port for a summer programme cruising in the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean through to October (Zammit Dimech, Seatade Cruise Review Supplement) The main objectives in the cruise passenger sector are to increase the number of cruise ship calls and passenger visits to Malta, to prolong a ship's stay, to generate more attractions in and out of the Grand Harbour and to develop home port business which, besides the passenger's longer stay in Malta will include flights and accommodation ( Seatrade Cruise Review Supplement) The major stakehodlers in the local cruise industry include VISET, M.I.A, MMA and MTA. The Malta Cruise Network ( MCN) was set-up to create synergy between all parties concerened, although its partners also include shipping agents, tour guides, hotels and othe stakeholders in Malta's cruise industry. the Network gaterhs the industry in a unfied forum, which collective interest to develop, deliver, market and promote Malta as a destination for cruise tourism and to secure Malta and the Grand Harbour of Valletta as a gateway to the Mediterranean for the cruise industry ( cruise Compendium-Essential Facts, Ryada, 2006). The Malta International airport (MIA) is also playing an increasingly important role in Malta's Cruise & Fly potential in home porting. The Cruise & Fly concept continued to develop last year yelding a turnaroaund of 21,000 passengers at MIA and an additional 20,000 passengers have so far been confirmed for 2006. For turnaraound and home porting ships MIA is also to ensure an efficient transfer of passengers and luggage between the airport and seaport which is just 5km away. MIA holds a 10% stake in VISET Malta and is represented on the Board of Directors of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), also dedicating 4.6% of its annual budget towards the promotion of tourism of Malta ( Seatrade Cruise Review Supplement). The business-tobusiness relationship within the cruise indusry consists of separte entities which carry out differnet roles. Although often, these separate entites may perform the same operations. For example a cruise line may choose its own itinerary, or lease out the ship to a cruise operator for a certain period of time, in which case, the itinerary would be choosen by the operator. Part of the aim of this dissertation is finding out the perceptions of those people who make the decision of choosing which destination to operate in. However this choice could be taken by the cruise operator, cruise agent or cruise line, depending on the situation, as previously explained. In the case of this dissertation, however, the focus is on the decision makers of the cruise industry, rather then the actual entity being mentioned. 1.2 Research Objectives The cruise industry ws chosen as the subject area under review since iut is an exicting business, whcih has rapidly grown during the last decade and still continues to do so. Malta's continuous

2. the nature of the research under study was that of analyzing the way various entities in Malta go about approaching cruise lines. with the needs of tourists'. from a supply-side perspective. What do cruise operators look for when choosing a destination for both. 2. made the research even the more interesting. which are .2 Defining tourism marketing " Tourims marketing is not a separate discipline but an adapton of basic principles that have been developed and practiced across a wide spectrum of consumer products for more tha four decades' Middleton (1994:17). 'Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably'. * Port-of-call * Turnaround port? 2. which known as tourism marketing. However one can also focus on the tourism perspective of marketing. Since the cruise line may not be approached by one stakeholder but rather by various local entities this complicated the assessment of the business-to-business relationship.2. * Port-of-call * Turnaround 3.1 Defining Marketing Since marketing is such a wide-ranging topic. furthermore this dissertation seeks to provide an in depth understanding on how the islands may be markled better to attract operators and cruise lines to include Malta in the itinerary as a port-of-call. including an assessment of the cruise lines perception or image of Malta as a cruise destination for both port-of-call and turnaround port. different people often look on the subject from different standpoints or give the subject a particular emphasis. How can Malta be marketed batter as a. To some extent these different viewpoints result form the academic background of the person giving the definition. goaloriented activity that balances the objectives of the tourism designation. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing. UK.1 considerations of the external environment An organisaiton's marketing system may be greatly affected by certain external forces. coltman (1989:11) fefined Tourism Marketing as being ' a directed. although there are generally accepted definitions of marketing. or supplier within it. especially with regards to their marketing efforts. turnaround port or homeport. * Port -of-call * Turnaround port? Literature Review 2. The objective of this dissertation is to identify the growth potential of Malta as a port-of -call and as a turnaround prot. How do cruise operators view Malta as a.3 Research Questions: 1. 1.investment in this industry in order to attract more business and an overall increase in this industry in order to attract more business and an overall increase in revenue for the country . there is no one unified definition ( Lancaster and Massingham 1999).

such matters include the consumers' disapproval of poor service and suppliers' poor product information. and interest rates. * Competition. location of customers. motivation and similar sociological influences. probably being the most important external factor that affects an organization's marketing programme is usually not given enough attention. lifestyles. market size. . hidden costs and misleading advertising. the behavioral viewpoint concerns such matters as customers' habits. Managers spend too little time analyzing competition's marketing strategy in such areas as promotional activities and pricing policies. the economic viewpoint considers' customers disposable incomes. the creative way in which an organization reacts to such external elements can often measure how effective that organization's marketing actually is. unemployment. * Social influences may considerably damage an organization's reputation. External factors influencing an organization include: * Market demand can contain an effect in two ways. It is able to do this by forecasting how they are likely to change and using internal variables such as human and financial resources to cope with these changes.outside the organization's control. and general economic matters such as inflation.