The 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, which is being hosted in Greece’s second-largest city for the first time since its creation, drew over 400 representatives from the world’s cruise industry to Thessaloniki’s famed Makedonia Palace hotel.
Cruise industry event
The opening day of a cruise industry event featured speeches from various officials and executives, including Pierfrancesco Vago, the Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Global Chair of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Vago discussed the industry’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact and promote sustainability and highlighted MSC Cruises’ new, more efficient vessels. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration between cruise lines, governments, and other stakeholders in ensuring the industry’s growth and success. Overall, the speeches expressed optimism for the future of the cruise industry and its potential to contribute to local economies worldwide.
Increase in passenger traffic
During a cruise industry event, Apostolos Tzitzikostas invited the industry to invest in Thessaloniki, highlighting the city’s natural beauty, cultural attractions, and potential for economic growth. In a panel discussion, Yu Zenggang, Chairman of Piraeus Port Authority SA, discussed the port’s successful resumption of cruise operations in May 2021 and its record-breaking performance in 2022, exceeding pre-pandemic levels in both revenue and profitability. The port saw a significant increase in passenger traffic and berthing, with plans for a new cruise terminal that may accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world.
Optimism for growth
During the forum, industry leaders including Figen Ayan, Marie-Caroline Laurent, Wybcke Meier, and Chris Theophilides expressed optimism for the growth of the cruise industry in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly in Greece. Meier noted strong demand for the region and announced plans to expand TUI Cruises’ fleet and offer homeporting in Heraklion. Theophilides highlighted the importance of Thessaloniki as a destination for Celestyal Cruises and anticipated strong growth in passenger numbers.
MoU on opening day
During the opening day of the 2023 Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (PSTF) in Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) and the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members (EEKFN) signed an MoU to coordinate actions and bilateral plans to ensure that the development of the cruise industry in the Eastern Mediterranean region is done according to international standards of service. The event is sponsored by several companies and organisations and includes panel discussions, seminars, and presentations. The Forum is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and the Ministry of Tourism and supported by several associations, including the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise).
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Source: Travel Daily News