The international cruise season in Tunisia has been underway for several months now, and the city of Sfax is getting ready to welcome its first 2023 ship and its first cruise passengers from all over the world.
The Renaissance, from Miami-based Compagnie Française de Croisières(C.F.C.), a former Holland America Line ship, was completely renovated in 2018. This 219m-long ship, which can accommodate up to 1,100 passengers on board, has 629 staterooms, 154 of which have private balconies.
The Renaissance, one of the world’s largest cruise ships in its category, will dock at the port of Sfax on Thursday, October 12, 2023 at Quai N°8 from 07:00 to 20:00.
The future of the “Sfax Cruise” destination
While the cruise season has been underway in Tunis since the beginning of the year, the Port of Sfax is set to welcome its first ship for 2023, but Sfax has no intention of stopping there! With a strategy driven by the Sfax International Association, OMMP, Tunisia Tourism Authorities and “Tunisie Maritime” Maritime Agency, the aim to make Sfax a must-visit destination for cruise passengers in the Mediterranean.
Make Sfax a new Tunisia gateway for cultural tourism, archaeological tourism, culinary tourism and craft tourism. With the most beautiful historical sites such as the Medina of Sfax, unique in the Mediterranean, the Amphitheatre of El Jem 45min from Sfax, the Borjtraditional Arab dwellings, the Byzantine site of Sbeïtla, the Oases of Gabes…Sfax has all the assets to win this bet of “HUB Cruise in 2024”.
”We are very pleased to have launched this “Sfax Cruise” promotion, which began several months ago with the presence of Sfax International in March 2022 at the “CruiseMed 2022” trade show in Malaga, Spain, on the OMMP & Tunisia Tourism Office pavilion. Sfax International successfully organized the first “Sfax Cruise Forum” with distinguished guests in October 2022, again with the assistance of OMMP, Tunisian National Tourism Authorities and Tunisie Maritime and the support of Mr. Naâmen BOUHAMED, an international business development consultant based in France. Without the support of all these private and public actors, we would never have been able to host this first stopover in Sfax,” emphasizes Mr. Ahmed Ben Messaoud, Vice-President of Sfax International.
With all the economic partners present within Sfax International, but also with the full support of the public authorities: Sfax Governorate, Sfax Municipality, Sfax Tourism & Cultural Office, it is a priority that the development of the cruise industry be carried out in a sustainable manner, in harmony with the economic community of the Sfax region, but also with all the regions of Southern Tunisia rich in cultural heritage. “The Port of Sfax is in fact the bearer of a vast sustainable development and destination management plan,” says Mr. Nabil Karoui, Regional Director of the Port of Sfax.
Sfax: New cruise destination
The arrival of the first ship at the Port of Sfax always generates a certain amount of excitement, as it also marks the beginning of a new economic development for the region. Cruises are set to become an important aspect of the economic development of the Sfax region and the southern regions of Tunisia.
“Our efforts since 2021 to convince this cruise line have been crowned by this stopover in Sfax, and we’re proud of it. Our objective is to fix, as a start, a minimum of 6 stop-over per year to the Port of Sfax!” underlines Mr Elyes Abdelmoula, Commercial Director of the “TunisieMaritime” Shipping Agency.
“With an average budget of €100-150 spent per cruise passenger during their stopover, this is an important economic value chain for the city of Sfax, opening up new job opportunities. It will be important to provide quality products with high added value,” says Mr. Naamen Bouhamed.
The Municipality of Sfax is fully committed to the success of this stopover and to making the city a new tourist showcase for Tunisia. All players in the region are gearing up for the 2024 – 2025 season to generate even more economic and tourism spin-offs for the “Sfax Cruise HUB”.