Passengers – an Opportunity and a Challenge


Organised by Luka Koper and Koper Municipality as part of the European Porta* project, the conference on the development of the Port of Koper’s passenger business was held today at the Praetor’s Palace in Koper. It was attended by over sixty representatives of institutions and companies that are either directly or indirectly involved in passenger terminal operations and cruise tourism in general. 

Mr Bojan Brank, the President of Luka Koper's Management Board, thanked Koper Municipality for being the driving force behind the development of cruise tourism in Koper since the very beginning. »Luka Koper contributed a part of the quayside and invested 1.6 million euros in necessary dredging work. We believe in the project and are fully prepared to further develop it; nevertheless, we need assistance, as well as the support of the local community and the state to resolve other issues, such as the dredging of harbour waters and the development of port infrastructure.« 

Prof. Francesco di Cesare of the Venice-based Risposte Turismo company presented the findings of the study entitled »Port of Koper Passenger Terminal: Cruise Development Possibilities« commissioned by Luka Koper within the context of the European ADRIA A project. According to Di Cesare, in addition to being the fastest growing cruise market, the Adriatic Sea also has greatest potential within the entire Mediterranean. But due to the increasing competition from other destinations, as well as between Adriatic ports themselves, both Koper together with Slovenian tourism, finds itself at a crossroads as to how to further develop the cruise business via the Port of Koper. »The construction of a passenger terminal is not enough. A guest has to be offered a complete package, including innovative and quality services supported by good infrastructure.« Di Cesare presented several scenarios. The first envisages Koper as a cruise home port at which vessels are serviced and provisioned, and from which passengers would embark and disembark on their cruises. The second is an intermediate option – a destination at which some passengers leave and join the cruise. The third option is that things remain as they are now – Koper as a mere port of call. Each scenario requires certain conditions and the government will have to decide as to what course the development of the cruise industry in Slovenia will chart. An abstract of the study is available in English via the link below: 

Ms Jana Tolja, an advisor to the Mayor of Koper, talked about plans for the promotion and support of the Passenger Terminal within the municipality, whilst Ms Karmen Novarlič of the Slovenian Tourist Board presented the STB's promotional activities on foreign markets. Luka Koper operates the Passenger Terminal in accordance with its Concession Agreement with the state, and the company's view on the development of its passenger business was provided by Mr Bojan Babič. The event was moderated by Dr Anton Gosar, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism Studies, at the University Primorska. 

* Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the MED Programme of European territorial collaboration, the PORTA project (PORTs as a gateway for access inner regions) aims to increase the role of ports as strategic key actors of maritime and logistics development and as gateways to the European hinterland.