Costa Cruises took center stage during the “National Day of Italy” held today at the Yeosu International Expo in Korea.

The Costa Victoria (75,200 gross tons and 2,394 total guests), a ship on permanent deployment in Asia as of last May, and berthed for the occasion at the wharf set up by the Expo organizers right inside the exhibition area, hosted the reception for the special National Day of Italy festivities. A

bout 300 people, including local authorities and representatives of the Expo’s participating countries, toured the ship and had the opportunity to dine with an eye on Italian gastronomic excellence. Attendees included Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman of the Board of Costa Crociere S.p.A., Michael Thamm, Chief Executive Officer of Costa Crociere S.p.A., and the Italian General Commissioner for the Yeosu International Expo in Korea, Ambassador Claudio Moreno.

“We were the first company in the world to believe in the development of the cruise market in Asia and every year our cruises bring a piece of ‘Italy at sea’ to ten of thousands of  Asian clients," commented Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman of the Board of Costa Crociere S.p.A. "Therefore we could not miss this important showcase in Yeosu, dedicated to the best of Italian excellence. We wish to thank   Ambassador Claudio Moreno for giving us this opportunity”.

Michael Thamm, Chief Executive Officer of Costa Crociere S.p.A. added: “Our programs in the area are based on a long term commitment, that will continue also in the next years, as confirmed by the tremendous  increase of our offering already scheduled from May 2013 positioning two truly Italian ships, Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, to offer Asian Guests an Italian style cruise holiday experience”.

The National Day of Italy came to an end with a magnificent opera concert, for which Costa Cruises also provided organizational support, by the Giuseppe Verdi Opera Company Orchestra of Trieste, which performed some of the most famous Italian opera arias. The concert was held in the Expo Hall, in front of 1,000 visitors, including Guests of the Costa Victoria.

Costa Cruises’ involvement in “National Day of Italy” is part of the Italian company’s partnership project at the “Italy Pavilion” of the Yeosu Expo. Costa Cruises, the only cruise company flying the Italian flag, is committed to this important event in order to support its successful pioneering adventure in the Asian market, which already began in 2006, when Costa Cruises became the world’s first company to propose itineraries in Asia for local clientele. Since then, about 400,000 total Guests have taken cruises on board ships operating in the area.

The Italian company is focusing on the emerging Asian markets also in terms of future growth. In 2013, the number of Costa ships operating in the area is expected to double, thanks to the arrival, in May, of the Costa Atlantica (85,700 gross tonnage and 2,680 total Guests), a magnificent ship dedicated to Italian cinema and art that will operate together with the Costa Victoria. The double positioning of Costa Atlantica and Costa Victoria will further expand the number of Costa’s cruises in Asia, with a 90 percent increase in the offering.

Costa cruises offer a unique and exclusive product for the Asian market based on the concept of “Italy at Sea” with Italian hospitality, design, shopping, artwork and gastronomy. Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica will offer a variety of short and longer itineraries departing from Singapore, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong that should appeal to both Asians and Europeans. Destinations include the most beautiful places in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea. In 2012 Costa will make 42 calls in Korea, which will increase to 81 in 2013 and, besides Yeosu, will also include Cheju and Pusan.

To promote the Italian Style at the Yeosu Expo, Costa Cruises not only scheduled a call by the Costa Victoria during the National Day of Italy, but also 4 other stops in Yeosu between June and August. Overall, during the 5 calls, about 10,000 guests from the Costa Victoria could appreciate, with guided tours including interpreters in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English, the many excellent Italian achievements on display in the Italy Pavilion: a showcase dedicated to our coasts and our sea, to our great seafaring tradition, and to the submerged treasures of our immense underwater archaeological heritage. The Guests’ tour included also an Italian snack offered by the Italy Pavilion.

Along with the “National Day of Italy”, there was also a “Costa promotion” week: from July 29 to August 4 2012, an entire area dedicated to Costa Cruises at the disposal of visitors who can take full advantage of exclusive promotions for purchasing Costa cruises.