Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum sets cruise industry agenda as region restores international appeal
The 2019 Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (PSTF) is ready to welcome senior executives of the global cruise and yachting sectors for two days of thought-provoking debates on the growth drivers and trends that are currently shaping the industry’s future in the East Med and Black Sea regions.
A wave of recent developments that are positively impacting on the growth of sea tourism in the East Med will be highlighted at a total of 11 panel discussions and workshops scheduled during the two days of the knowledge-exchange Forum. Among the main topics, the return of Turkish ports in major cruise line itineraries and the berth capacity increase in the East Med, including the return of Disney Cruise Line. These are some of the factors that are driving growth in the region, as evidenced by the expected 7.5% increase of calls in Greek ports this season, according to figures provided by the Union of Greek Cruise Ship Owners and Associated Members (EEKFN).
According to Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions SA: “Greece’s growing status as a world class cruise destination is also among the topics to be discussed by some fifty experts from the international cruise and yachting sectors. They will be sharing their thoughts on a variety of issues, including the impending Greek port privatisations and the strategic benefits from the promising gradual stabilization of regional geopolitical hotspots.”
Other topics to be tabled during the Forum include the prospects of cruising in the East Med, partnerships between ships, ports and destinations for sustainable tourism, the region’s potential to offer year-round cruise products and the overall impact from the dramatic growth of mainstream cruise ship sizes.
CLIA Europe and MedCruise will also host high profile industry meetings at the Posidonia Forum, which is expected to attract over 600 delegates and exhibitors from over 20 countries.
During the event, to be held on May 28-29 at Athens’ Domotel Kastri Convention Center, executives from MSC Cruises, Carnival Group, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Holland America Group, Silversea Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Line and Celestyal Cruises will add their voices, views and opinions, as well as interact and network with representatives of regional ports and destinations.
In addition, at a workshop organised by the Hellenic Marine Equipment Manufacturers and Exporters (HEMEXPO), purchasing and technical managers from Royal Caribbean Cruises and Silversea Cruises will
discuss the sector’s procurement procedures with Greek marine equipment manufacturers that are interested in becoming suppliers to the cruise industry.
The importance of developing the cruise market in Greece will be presented by MSC Cruises during the travel agent workshops taking place under the auspices of FedHATTA.
The Secretary General of Ports, Ports Policy and Maritime Investments Mr. Christos Lambridis, representing the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Mr. Fotis Kouvelis, said the following: “The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy is very supportive of the fact that Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2019 will examine, among other things, measures to be taken by the cruise industry to conform with new environmental regulations and the use of alternative fuels. Our Ministry's political leadership stands firm on the position that sea tourism should develop within the established legal frameworks that protect maritime labor and the integrity of the marine environment.”
The Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development in the Greek Ministry of Tourism, Mr George Tziallas, said: “Sea Tourism has been at the center of our development strategy and our plans for the years to come aim at improving and upgrading infrastructure in marinas, as well as in cruise ports and home ports. We issued the first ever Presidential Decrees in Greece, (concerning Chios, Alimos and Pylos), that enable us to obtain approvals for the development of mid and large sized marinas in areas protected by special planning restrictions. Our crisis management tactics in previous years and our strategic actions enabled the containment of our cruise volume share, in spite of regional geopolitical developments and their negative effects on the international cruise industry’s East Mediterranean exposure.”
The President of Union of Greek Cruise Ship Owners and Associated Members, Mr. Theodoros Kontes, commented: “Our current target is to extend the cruising season and our efforts have already begun. The ultimate goal is to establish year-round operations, but to achieve this we need cooperation from both the ports and the state so as to improve infrastructure for safer cruise calls and develop more competitive policies on cost and services. Cruise & Stay and Short Cruise programs more widely spread in varied areas and using as hubs ports other than Piraeus, such as Corfu, Rhodes, Heraklion and even Alexandroupoli or Kavala, would be a step in the right direction.”
Maria Deligianni, Government & Public Affairs Representative Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA Europe, said: “The economic benefits generated from the cruise industry are enormous. Based on data provided by CLIA, Greece received about 4 million passenger visits in 2017, yielding about 0.5 billion in national revenue. Cruise passenger consumption is on a steady rise and according to the Bank of Greece it has reached €65 per transit passenger and double, at €139, per homeporting passenger.”
Yachting is also on the agenda once again with a focus on Marinas, the continuing process for successful privatisations, their special infrastructure and legislative issues. Another highly significant topic to be broached is the state of the region’s yacht building, maintenance and repair industry.
The event is also making an active contribution to the promotion of the sector’s career opportunities and employability potential for the new generation. The organisers Posidonia Exhibitions S.A. have once again teamed up with Young Executives Shipping (YES) Forum. In addition, at the Blue Growth event, young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their business plans to attract investments for their start-ups. Blue Growth is an organisation that promotes business ideas relating to the local sea and aquatic resources through an environmental and economic approach.
The 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and is supported by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, CLIA Europe, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MEDCRUISE), the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association, the Greek Marinas Association, the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies, the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies (fedHATTA). Gold Sponsor is the Greek National Tourism Organisation. Silver sponsors are the Piraeus Port Authority, HEMEXPO and the Thessaloniki Port Authority and Bronze Sponsors are Air France – KLM, Aktina Travel Group, Celestyal Cruises, Global Ports Holding and Intercruises Shoreside and Port Services.