World Maritime News Staff; Gallery: Damen zoom Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen (DSV) has completed refurbishment of cruise ships Astor and Marco Polo, both operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages. The vessels have been at DSV for a wide-ranging programme of work, scheduled and unscheduled, Damen said. Astor, featuring passenger capacity of just over 600 travellers, arrived at DSV on 17 October. Whilst in port she underwent a DNV GL Class Survey as Damen carried out diverse tasks.The scheduled maintenance included high-pressure washing and painting of the underwater part of the vessel, overhaul of overboard valves, hull anode renewal, maintenance and recertification of lifeboats, gangway repairs and certification and renewal of ducting and ventilators from engine room air-supply. Peter Sterkenburg, Head of Sales & Marketing at Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, said: “The work on the Astor was not without its challenges – the sheer diversity of the tasks we performed ensured that. The logistics were perhaps the greatest consideration – we had to manage this extensive scope, alongside a class survey, whilst 140 of the vessel’s crew remained on board throughout. I’m pleased to say we did everything according to plan and all work was completed in time for Astor to sail on 4 November.” The 176.25 metre ship sailed from Vlissingen to Tilbury in the UK where she collected the remainder of her crew and passengers for a voyage to Australia.Only days later, on 11 November, Marco Polo arrived in Vlissingen. The vessel, though similarly sized to Astor, accommodates up to 800 passengers.Marco Polo was scheduled for a class survey and similar scope of maintenance to Astor. However, a recent grounding in Norway added an extra dimension to the project. Mr Sterkenburg said:“The grounding caused some minor steel damage to the flat bottom of the vessel, so we’ve had to factor that into the planning on top of the scheduled work and class survey. Naturally, this has made the work more challenging, but we are used to this kind of project and to reacting quickly when something changes. Everything went according to plan.”Marco Polo, having left DSV on 11 December, collected her passengers in the Amsterdan, Antwerp and Tilburg and sailed on to Brazil and the Amazon.
World tourism registered yet another record last year with 842 million arrivals, a higher than expected growth rate of 4.5 per cent in spite of adverse factors such as the Israeli-Hizbollah war in Lebanon and the terrorist threats to trans-Atlantic air travel from London, according to latest United Nations figures. “Despite downside risks facing global tourism twelve months ago, in particular terrorism, health scares due to avian flu and rising oil prices, 2006 was another year of good growth above the long-term forecast rate of 4.1 per cent, backed up by one of the longest periods of sustained economic expansion,” UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Francesco Frangialli said. Three years ago, world tourism, which can play a key role in fighting poverty and become a primary tool for sustainable development, began a historically new phase of growth, as it broke the barrier of 800 million international arrivals. It has grown more than 20 per cent since then. The increase in international tourist arrivals is projected to be around 4 per cent for 2007, much in line with the forecast long-term annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent through 2020, according to UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer. Growth is expected to be more solid as businesses, consumers, governments and international institutions are now better able to anticipate shocks and to respond more effectively to crises. Africa outpaced all other regions with almost twice the rate of global growth reaching 8.1 per cent in 2006 after an already strong 2005, led by sub-Saharan Africa (up by 9.4 per cent) and North Africa (up 5.8 per cent). Major destinations such as South Africa, Kenya and Morocco all continued to post excellent results. Asia and the Pacific (up 7.6 per cent) was able to maintain its extraordinary growth level, both due to the recovery of Thailand and the Maldives from the impact of the 2004 tsunami and “remarkable performances” from emerging destinations. International tourist arrivals in South Asia grew by 10 per cent boosted by India, the destination responsible for half the arrivals to the sub-region. Europe performed on target (up 4 per cent). Germany took advantage of the Football World Cup 2006, while Italy had a strong comeback. Spain’s solid results also contributed to the generally positive outcome. In the Middle East, international tourist arrivals are estimated to have risen by 4 per cent, after the bumper years of 2004 and 2005, in spite of the overall geopolitical situation, the Israel-Lebanon crisis in particular. Although the 2 per cent growth in the Americas might seem disappointing, regional results varied considerably. The rise in the United States was not enough to compensate for weak development in Canada and Mexico. On the other hand, results from Central (up 6.1 per cent) and South America (up 7.2 per cent) show how Latin America is on track to consolidate the positive outcome of recent years. Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru all grew at double-digit-rates. As a whole, the global economy is expected to maintain last year’s growth level. Oil prices have shown a tendency to remain less volatile and do not pose the risk to economic stability they did a year ago, UNWTO said. But some uncertainties remain. Increasing interest rates in some countries and regions could diminish available income. A weaker US dollar might affect foreign travel demand by Americans. On the other hand, a stronger euro could stimulate European international travel. 30 January 2007World tourism registered yet another record last year with 842 million arrivals, a higher than expected growth rate of 4.5 per cent in spite of adverse factors such as the Israeli-Hizbollah war in Lebanon and the terrorist threats to trans-Atlantic air travel from London, according to latest United Nations figures.