The beginnings of cruise tourism in Tenerife date back to the 18th century when the English arrived by sea for the first time. Some of the travellers stayed on and spent a few months on the island before setting sail for the colonies which at the time were part of the British Empire. The settlers who arrived in Tenerife on the vessels that called into the port to pick up passengers and cargo also included the first tourists, who were obviously very different to today’s cruise passengers, yet already recognisable as such.
Since then, cruise tourism has grown constantly to become today one of the tourism industry’s main activities which is more and more familiar to the majority of citizens.
Cruise traffic is very strong at the ports managed by the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and traditionally ranks third in Spain in this type of traffic year after year. The Port Authority promotes this traffic by attending the Seatrade Cruise Global convention, Seatrade Europe and Seatrade Cruise Med, the industry's leading international cruise fairs, under the internationally well-known brand “Cruises Atlantic Islands” which also includes the ports of Las Palmas, Madeira and Cape Verde.
Nowadays the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is member of Medcruise, CLIA (Cruise Line International Association); IAPH (Internationa Association of Ports and Harbours) and ESPO (European Sea Ports Organisation).
Santa Cruz of Tenerife will host in September 2016 the eleventh edition of the Seatrade Cruise Med Conference, the most important fair of the cruise industry in Europe, whose celebration is expected to bring to the island about six hundred delegates from companies in the sector and an associated movement exceeding three thousand visitors.