Posidonia Forum to host CLIA Europe Executive Committee Meeting
The East Mediterranean is gearing to increase its share of the cruise sector’s €40 billion annual contribution to Europe’s economy. According to industry representatives who will participate in the upcoming Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, scheduled to be held on May 26-27 in Athens, 2015 brings the first positive news following the industry’s post Arab Spring deployment correction and a capacity increase with the introduction of new and larger vessels.
Senior executives from the world’s biggest and most prestigious cruise lines will be there to table the challenges the sector is facing in the Eastern Mediterranean, tackle long standing issues and try to turn trends to opportunities for the industry’s key players and the region’s port destinations.
Speakers include senior officials from Azamara Club Cruises, Celestyal Cruises (former Louis Cruises), Crystal Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and more, who will gather in the Greek capital for this two-day event to meet industry officials from the region’s private sector, government bodies and regulatory authorities.
As Royal Caribbean Cruises’ representative Andreas Stylianopoulos, President & CEO, Navigator Travel said: “I am confident that the East Mediterranean will continue to recover as a cruising sub-region in spite of the fact that some of its strong destinations are still out of play. One important factor in the renewal of demand for East Mediterranean cruises is that Greece, as a tourist destination, has recently become very much in fashion worldwide. Sustainability in tourism requires a clear vision with farseeing strategies, constant nurturing with great attention to detail and of course, political stability coupled with consistent policy.”
His optimism is shared by Marco Digioia, Government Affairs Director of CLIA Europe. “We plan meetings with senior Greek government officials to discuss the potential for cruise growth in Greece and the East Med, the projected increase of deployment in the East Med for 2016, and to address current barriers to the growth of both cruise calls and home-porting in Greece,” said Digioia. On the occasion of the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, CLIA Europe will be holding its biannual Executive Committee Meeting in Athens, thereby showing the importance the region has for the cruise industry.
According to Theodore Vokos, Executive Director of Posidonia Exhibitions, the event’s organiser, Greece continues to enjoy a significant cruise presence with passenger calls reaching a total of 5 million in 2014. “Several Greek cruise ports are among the top ranking in Europe in absolute passenger visits and this, in combination with the emergence of new cruise ports in the region, will continue to provide cruise lines with a significant choice of exciting and lucrative destination options.”
The development of new potential homeports and ports of call in the region facilitates the additional European capacity coming online in 2015 with the delivery of vessels for TUI, Costa and P&O Cruises as well as the deployment of mega ships such as Anthem of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Norwegian Epic. The positive news continues for 2016 and 2017 with new capacity from AIDA and MSC Cruises scheduled to join the Europe-based fleet.
More vessels trading in the region also means more business for suppliers to the sector, including food and beverage producers. With that in mind, some of the region’s local exporters of quality F&B products, processing manufacturers, wineries and gastronomic product specialists will participate in the European F&B Cruise Ship Supply Industry Workshop together with delegates and exhibitors, to network with key representatives from the Cruise Procurement and Supply sector.
The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum’s exhibition is also the ideal platform for port destinations, port and regional authorities, chambers of commerce, airlines, tourist services providers and marinas to showcase their offering to influential international cruise industry decision makers.
The future of yachting in Greece and its potential contribution will also be debated at the Forum, together with issues relating to marina development and utilization. This year’s Forum will tackle the obstacles to further development of the industry in Greece, and its negative image and how this can change. Especially important will be the session on the regulatory environment of Mediterranean yachting, where the potential for a common strategic operational framework will be explored.
“We are delighted by the response we have received so far from the global and regional cruise and yacht sectors in terms of speakers, delegates and exhibitors for our Confex event. Delegates of the third edition of the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum are in for two days of insightful, forward-looking deliberations that will hopefully lead to mutually beneficial networking opportunities, new business development, synergies and best practice and ideas exchange to help unlock the full potential of sea tourism for the Eastern Mediterranean region,” added Vokos.
The 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is organised under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the Greek Ministry of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MEDCRUISE), the Hellenic Ports’ Association (ELIME), the Greek Marinas’ Association, the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies, the Union of Greek Ship Owners & Associated Members and the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourism Agencies (HATTA).
Gold Sponsor is the Piraeus Port Authority, Silver Sponsor is Air France – KLM and Bronze Sponsor is Celestyal Cruises.