The Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Council representatives celebrated together with a party of 100 guests the 10th anniversary of the Var Provence Cruise Club on September 6th 2018 in La-Londe-Les-Maures.
With an increase of almost 90% in number of passengers welcomed in the Var Provence ports in 10 years, it is an average of 300000 visitors who disembark each year and discover the most popular area after Paris!
Launched in 2008 by the Var Chamber of Commerce and the General Council, the Var Provence Cruise club has been working for 10 years to develop cruise business acting as a single point of contact that promotes the Var area as a major touristic destination for cruise passengers and by federating the local actors to ease the emergence of positive initiatives. Making Var Provence a must-see Mediterranean cruise destination!
VPCC and all its partners (Chamber of Commerce, local authorities, tourism committees, and tourist professionals) are working to ensure that the economic growth of the cruise sector expresses its full potential, to meet the Cruise Lines companies and passengers needs and expectations.
With two leading cruise ports, Toulon Bay and Saint-Tropez, the Var Provence network boasts now 10 cruise ports. The area can accommodate cruise ships of all sizes at berth in Toulon Bay (Toulon and La Seyne-sur-Mer) and at anchor in small typical Provencal boutique ports (Saint-Cyr-Sur-Mer, Sanary-sur-Mer, Bandol, Les Embiez, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire, Saint- Tropez, Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël). With its new finger pier project, the Ports of Toulon Bay will be able to welcome the world's largest ships by 2022.
With their own specificities and identity, the 10 cruise port destinations can be part of the same itinerary as well as sites of excursions from another nearby port of the Var Provence network. The Provencal hinterland offers a large choice of exclusive experiential and immersive excursions and ecotours dedicated to cruise passengers. The VPCC has developed a catalogue of more than 100 tailor-made cruise excursions ideas in partnership with tourist offices and leisure providers.
The Var Provence Cruise Club is still working on developing new excursion ideas but also capitalising on the success of its Cruise Friendly Welcome Quality Label which ensures a warm welcome to the passengers by enhancing their experience ashore helping local businesses to attract new customers. Finalist in the “Best marketing initiative of the year” category at the Seatrade Cruise Awards 2017, Cruise Friendly was initially deployed in partnership with 72 shopkeepers and leisure providers in the cities of Toulon and La Seyne in 2013. It is today acclaimed by other Var Provence ports reaching a total of 431 shops in seven Cruise Friendly Cities: Bandol, Sanary, Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Hyères, Le Lavandou and Saint-Raphaël.
The VPCC is working to extend its brand to include the most visited hinterland sites and to other ports in France as well, but not only, having been approached by leading ports in other destinations of the world which are interested in implementing this great initiative locally.
The VPCC is already involved in 2 other projects: the Region Sud Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur cruise branch program which brings together Marseille Provence, French Riviera and Var Provence Cruise Clubs on new common grounds in terms of cruise marketing promotions and the European program Interreg Marittimo which is called ItinERA: involving French and Italian ports’ destinations (Var Provence, Corsica, Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany) in order to increase their cruise competitiveness offering a range of eco-friendly excursions based on sustainable development and biodiversity aiming to build two cross-border cruise itineraries.