The Port of Gothenburg started its cruise season today with the arrival of the AIDAcara. A total of 52 ships, carrying some 100,000 passengers, are expected this year, according to a statement from the port.

“This year, we will be welcoming more large cruise ships to Gothenburg than previously,” said Jill Soderwall, head of cruise operations. However, there will be fewer calls than last year, which set a record with 73 calls and 108,000 passengers. But despite fewer calls, the bigger ships will ensure roughly the same the number of passengers as last year.

The fall in the number of calls has not just affected Gothenburg, but the whole of Scandinavia and the Baltic countries. “The number of visits by cruise ships is down by around 5 percent throughout the region. Instead, bigger ships have been brought into service carrying more passengers, which could be the result of new demands for cleaner and thus more expensive marine fuel in the North Sea and the Baltic,” Soderwall noted.

Cruise tourism is an important source of revenue for the City of Gothenburg’s tourism industry. Each passenger spends on average an estimated 700 kronor on food, shopping and entertainment (1,200 if excursions are included). This year, cruise tourism is expected to contribute 70 million kronor.

The port and Goteborg & Co have focused for a number of years on marketing Gothenburg as a cruise destination and have induced more international cruise lines to add the city to their routes. They have also persuaded more ships to stay overnight. This year six ships will remain in port.

"Overnight stays are positive for the city and the port. They generate more revenue and at the same time the tourists get to explore the city at night," said Sara Sundaeus, cruise manager at Goteborg & Co.

The season will run through to October 18 with one Christmas visit in December.