Cruises in Europe “generated a significant economic impact” last year, said attendees at the International Cruise Ship Congress in Malaga.

Senior representatives of the cruise industry attended the event held Sept. 19 and 20 at the Port of Málaga. They discussed the evolution of the market, ship sizes, onboard activities and itinerary planning.

Malaga Port Authority President Enrique Linde said cruise traffic is very important for the city, and that cruise traffic in the port has increased during the last years. A total of 240 cruise ships called in 2007. The forecast for the current year is for 275 cruise ships to arrive – a 14.5 percent increase.

On the other hand, 292,567 passengers arrived to the Port of Málaga during 2007 and the forecast for the current year is to receive more than 360,000 passengers – an increase of 23 percent over last year.

Medcruise President Laurent Monsaingeon said the cruise industry is undergoing important changes: The trend is to place more ships in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Atlantic Coast rather than in American destinations.

Royal Caribbean Cruises’ General Manager for Spain, Belén Wangüemert, said destinations still sell cruises, “despite of different activities and comforts that (are) offer on board.”