Being founded in April 1978 the HaRuFa Maritime Tourismus Ltd was the first operator offering guided harbour tours via ship through the overseas harbours.
Until 1978, it was not possible to take a harbour tour in the Overseas Harbours of Bremerhaven. However, harbour tours were already possible in Hamburg, which is why the current operator developed a concept for Bremerhaven. Initially with only one ship, the company expanded rapidly and another ship was purchased to meet market demand. Apart from HaRuFa, no other interested parties are involved in this practice. Although tourists are the main target group of the harbour tours, locals are also happy to participate. As the HaRuFa is the only regular opportunity to visit the Overseas Harbours from the waterside, it perfectly meets the demand of tourist. With a ranking among the top ten largest harbours in Europe, the Overseas Harbours and thus the city of Bremerhaven is of great interest to many maritime enthusiasts. By conveying authenticity, transparency, connectedness and identification with their hometown, the buyers, who walk around in places close to the ships' berths play an important role in the success of the practice. With nine tours in the tourist season and moderate fares of € 11.50 per adult. On the tour you will see huge ships, car transfer stations, docks and shipyards.
Starting with only 1 ship the owner now runs 2 ships and employs 10 staffs. The number of staffs required is strictly tailored to the companies needs. Besides the captains there is also service staff placed aboard and at ticket counter. 120,000 flyers per year. Focussing on online media.
Evidence of success
Evidence of success can be measured by passenger numbers and total workload. Within the last years the total number of passengers stabilized at 80.000 per year. Even though the corona pandemic is a hard opponent for the tourism industry, nearly all tours offered are fully booked on a daily basis. Over 40 years of continious operation. Barrier-free access to the ship also makes the harbour tour possible for many passengers.
Potential for learning or transfer
HaRuFa's success consists in strict and tailor-made schedules that allow the most efficient use of resources. To leave the inner harbour, the ships have to pass under a bridge which has to be raised each time. To save time, the bridge is raised only once an hour, so that the outgoing and incoming ships can pass through at the same time. Thanks to this highly controlled process, customers are guaranteed a guided tour of exactly one hour. The strategic planning of all processes involved in the value chain leads to an excellent use of resources and to an efficient calculation, which prevents the company from generating deficits in its daily operations. Adapting these management processes can be helpful for other companies and prevent them from spending money and time inefficiently. The adaptation is not only relevant for port tour operators, but can also serve as a sustainable tourism mobility form in other harbour cities.