A virtual signing session of the Cruise Friendly brand license agreement took place via a video call held Friday, May 28, in the presence of representatives of the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Martinique Tourism Authority:
For the Martinique Tourism Committee:
Karine Mousseau - in her former capacity as President (Recent regional elections were held in June 2021), Guillaume Hamel - Director of Development of Tourism, Chantal Vetro- Head of the Cruise unit, Malouse Bibas - Cruise mission officer
For the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry :
Jacques Bianchi - President, Laurence Cananzi - Vice President and President of the Var Provence Cruise Club, Carole Petroni - Front Office Director, Sylvie Parcineau – Var Business Attractivity Manager, Gaëlle Montier, Trade Mission Officer - Julie Bensadoun and Anne-Marie Blum for the Var Provence Cruise Club.
Cruise Friendly: how to optimize the experience of cruise passengers ashore
This certification involves local merchants (shopkeepers, restaurants, leisure providers) in delivering a warm welcome to cruise guests during their call. Its aim is to strive for excellence through a bespoke passenger welcome throughout their stay, leaving them with unforgettable memories and prompting them to return.
It encourages ship owners to reschedule calls in these Cruise Friendly certified ports as their guests’ satisfaction rates are improving quite significantly.
The establishments who are member commit by respecting the criteria of the Cruise Friendly charter:
- adapt their opening hours to scheduled cruise calls, guarantee a warm welcome, offer cruise passengers a gift or a discount for any purchase, speak English (or at least a few words and usual phrases) to favour communication.
This system channels passenger flows to the relevant areas and to Charter partners enabling them to benefit from the economic spin-offs of this activity. It increases the intention of passengers to come back and stay in the city where the certification is deployed to discover further its main tourist attractions by planning future stays.
For the record, in the Var, 83% of passengers spend an average of €36 in a few hours, with a return intention rate of 63% in the next three years as a tourist.
The Cruise Friendly approach is unfolded by 10 municipalities in the Var region:
- St-Raphaël, Fréjus, Cavalaire, Le Lavandou, Hyères, Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Sanary, Bandol and Le Castellet.
And attracting new destinations: Reunion Island and Yokohama in 2019, the port of Sète in 2020 and Martinique in 2021.
A network that is seeing the number of its members grow with the prospect of welcoming new destinations such as the island of Guadeloupe, Tahiti and other ports/destinations that are studying the upcoming implementation of this offer, a real lever for quality as a springboard for competitive differentiation.
"Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a major impact on this industry at a standstill for almost 18 months, we are happy of the resumption of cruise activity in France since July 1. This Cruise Friendly approach has crossed the Atlantic to be deployed on this magnificent island of Martinique and together with the mobilization of local stakeholders and the support of the entire cruise community, thru the selection of quality merchants, they are ready to welcome this high potential clientele. For all of us, Cruise Friendly sends a strong message to the cruise lines because it is about aiming for excellence! By offering a personalized welcome to their guests, by helping to optimize the cruise passenger experience to leave them unforgettable memories of their visit, and by helping local businesses attract new customers and benefit from the economic impact of the cruise business," said Laurence Cananzi, President of the VPCC Club.
More than 850 merchants, leisure and tourism service providers are "Cruise Friendly" members throughout the network.
A popular initiative
As finalist in the "Best Marketing Initiative of the Year" category at the 2017 Seatrade Cruise Awards for Cruise Friendly, the VPCC is working to expand the geographic scope of its brand.
This brand license agreement created by the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry authorizes the Martinique Tourism Authority to operate the Cruise Friendly brand and logo in its ports: Fort de France and Les Trois-îlets.
The island of Martinique is the 14th destination to adopt the approach and the Martinique Tourism Authority hopes to convince some twenty businesses to join this quality welcome charter, for this first year, from the opening of the cruise season next October.
Working session: Chantal Vétro, Malouse Bibas (Martinique Tourism Authoriy) and Julie Bensadoun (Var Provence Cruise Club)
"We are convinced that a smile, a welcoming gesture and a few words exchanged in the visitor's language are the guarantees of a successful travel experience for the cruise passenger, whether he or she stops over in Reunion, Yokohama, the Var, Sète or Martinique! It is with great enthusiasm that the Martinique Tourism Committee joins a network supported by a dynamic team whose deployment throughout the world is the best guarantee of its effectiveness " Guillaume Hamel - Martinique Tourism Committee.
Ship owners are particularly sensitive to the "gold standard" welcome efforts put in place by the Cruise Friendly destinations for their customers. Most merchants who see this as an opportunity to increase their revenues renew their membership every year.
The Var Provence Cruise Club promotes 9 ports:
* Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, Bandol, Sanary, the ports of the Toulon harbor (Toulon/La Seyne), Hyères, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire, Saint-Tropez, Fréjus, St-Raphaël.