Essential Business

River Douro cruises restart after losing millions

 In News, Tourism

Cruise boat companies are once again operating trips up and down Portugal’s Douro Valley – a World Heritage site — after having lost millions from being moored up because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This time last year most cruise companies were fully booked and 2020 was expected to be another bumper year but that hope swiftly faded from March onwards.
Douro Azul, the largest river cruise company in Europe, predicted the best year ever for 2020 since the company started in 1993.
A source at the company told ECO Online, “Our forecasts for 2020 were that we would have the best year ever in turn of turnover since we were founded, but the truth is that our company has been in dry dock in operational terms since March which is when we were due to start our operations.”
The source continued, “If the stoppage is added to the non-operational months and maintenance works that limit the cruise boat season on the Douro than we’ve been laid up since November 2019. We lost tens of millions of euros.”
It has been a similar story for Tomaz do Douro whose 11 boats have been tied up alongside for four months causing “incalculable damage”.
Says Célia Lima, the company’s marketing director, “The company has been operating cruises since 3 July from six departure points with the traditional ‘rebelo’ boats and larger cruise boats which sail the Douro as far as Régua, restarting all of its activities from 10 July.”
From this month Douro Azul has been focusing on the Spanish and Portuguese market although it has had two boats running since June catering for the German market.
Tour operators are opening up slowly and say it all depends on how the pandemic evolves, the reopening of borders, the gradual recommencement of flights and above all, the availability of a vaccine.

This time last year most cruise companies were fully booked and 2020 was expected to be another bumper year but that hope swiftly faded from March onwards.
Douro Azul, the largest river cruise company in Europe, predicted the best year ever for 2020 since the company started in 1993.
A source at the company told ECO Online, “Our forecasts for 2020 were that we would have the best year ever in turn of turnover since we were founded, but the truth is that our company has been in dry dock in operational terms since March which is when we were due to start our operations.”
The source continued, “If the stoppage is added to the non-operational months and maintenance works that limit the cruise boat season on the Douro than we’ve been laid up since November 2019. We lost tens of millions of euros.”
It has been a similar story for Tomaz do Douro whose 11 boats have been tied up alongside for four months causing “incalculable damage”.
Says Célia Lima, the company’s marketing director, “The company has been operating cruises since 3 July from six departure points with the traditional ‘rebelo’ boats and larger cruise boats which sail the Douro as far as Régua, restarting all of its activities from 10 July.”
From this month Douro Azul has been focusing on the Spanish and Portuguese market although it has had two boats running since June catering for the German market.
Tour operators are opening up slowly and say it all depends on how the pandemic evolves, the reopening of borders, the gradual recommencement of flights and above all, the availability of a vaccine.


Read More