Turkey’s potential on becoming a cruise hub for the East Mediterranean Region, and in particular the potential of Istanbul is the theme of the port study presented by PortEconomics member Michael Dooms along with Oguz Bagis during the annual conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists – IAME 2013, that was held in Marseilles, France.
Cruise lines seek for new markets in order to accommodate the growing demand for cruise tourism. In this context, East Mediterranean and Black sea ports would be alternatives to the current cruise destinations in the West-Med region. However, one could argue that currently, the Black Sea and East Mediterranean regions do not have a hub port (or homeport) functioning as a gateway for cruise passengers. Based on existing cultural and social attractions, Turkey and Istanbul would be a potential candidate on serving as a homeport for the region.
This study first explores the general determinants and conditions to serve as a cruise homeport from micro, meso and macro perspectives. It also assesses the feasibility of terminal projects in Istanbul based upon the findings of in-depth interviews with cruise industry stakeholders. As a conclusion, strategies are suggested for Istanbul to be become a cruise homeport, by evaluating the competitiveness of Istanbul, mainly through a port portfolio analysis of a range of selected regional ports in the period 2006-2011, coupled to insights from the expert interview panel. As a result, the study offers first insights into the potential application of port portfolio analysis for cruise ports, as well as policy recommendations for cruise industry stakeholders within the Eastern Mediterranean Region, with regard to the development of a homeport.