Thursday, 13 August 2020 | 01:01
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How Israel’s Haifa Port Stands to Gain From the Coronavirus

Monday, 24 February 2020 | 16:00

The press release issued by the Port of Haifa Tuesday was simple and seemingly routine: “Fresh from a $100 million refurbishment program, the cruise ship Norwegian Spirit arrived in the Port of Haifa, the first port of call on the renovated vessel’s maiden voyage. From Haifa, the ship will continue to the Suez Canal on its way to the Red Sea and eventually to Dubai.

The Norwegian Spirit, which was supposed to spend the rest of 2020 in the Far East, canceled all its port calls in the Far East and will spend most of the year in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, including visits to Israel and the Haifa port, on cruises that will begin and end in the port of Piraeus.”

This announcement, posted on the port’s Facebook page, illustrates a major shift for cruise lines – which are being rocked by a situation characterized by constant change and a complete lack of confidence – along with the ports that have traditionally hosted their ships.

This has led to a switch in destinations: The Far East is largely being replaced by the Mediterranean. After all, the ships have to sail somewhere.

The near-constant and anxiety-producing appearance of the Diamond Princess in the news all over the world has completely shaken the foundations of the entire cruise industry.

This is also an excellent reminder for all those who needed it as to how sensitive and fragile the tourism industry is in general, and the cruise business in particular. Sometimes a single incident, or two, is enough to change a route, or the entire industry.

What this also means is that Mediterranean ports, including Haifa, can expect to profit from the cruise industry’s distress in the coming tourist season.
Source: Haaretz

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