“The Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions could get significant economic benefits from the burgeoning European cruise sector provided they secure the investments to upgrade the existing port infrastructure and develop the new regional ports” says Giovanni Spadoni the President of the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports.
Speaking on the occasion of MedCruise’s decision to endorse the inaugural Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum to be held from 21-22 June 2011 at the Athens Onassis Cultural Centre Spadoni welcomed the initiative as a positive step towards the further development of the region’s cruise industry. He highlighted as well the need to embark upon a solid port infrastructure development plan in line with each destination’s unique characteristics.
“Small destination ports and islands must carefully balance between the level of infrastructure improvements and/or expansions they are willing to undertake and the conservation of their tourist value and character while marquee destination ports must plan according to their customer priorities for example commercial versus touristic” said Spadoni whose organization counts the Greek ports of Piraeus Thessaloniki Volos Patras Kos Heraklion Igoumenitsa Kefallonia and Kavala amongst its members.
“We must demonstrate that cruise activity benefits the local economy to justify port capital improvements and this is a key objective of the upcoming Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum. As MedCruise is an active proponent of the development of the wider Mediterranean region as a mega cruise destination we will contribute with our port expertise to help highlight the important positive role cruise tourism development can play towards the sustainable economic growth of a sea port region” he added.
According to official industry statistics the Mediterranean is expected to surpass the Caribbean in less than a decade becoming the world’s number one cruising region. This means that the importance of East Mediterranean home porting will increase dramatically along with a pressing need to develop and promote new ports of call.
The amount spent on direct cruise in Greece in 2009 was nearly 600 million Euros. Greece became the seventh country in the ranking in terms of receipts despite the fact that was top of the list in terms of transit destinations with almost 5 million passengers during that year.
“Despite the recession and the dire economic conditions across the world the European cruise market in 2009 saw an increase of 12.1 per cent prove of the sector’s resilience against a financially harsh environmentâ€ said Theodore Vokos Posidonia’s Project Manager and organizer of the event which this year will explore the sector’s challenge for Greece the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea”.
“The Mediterranean currently attracts about 58 per cent of the European source market mainly sourced from the region’s more mature markets such as UK Germany Italy France and Spain. There is a significant trend to develop new cruise markets across the continent which ties up with Eastern Mediterranean’s and Black Sea’s ambitions to ride on the cruise popularity’s wave” he said.
“The conference will shed light to the new prevailing trends in port development as cruise terminals are now more demanding than ever in the quest to satisfy the increased needs of operators and provide high quality of services to their passengers against a highly competitive backdrop of both established as well as upcoming destinations across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions” said Vokos.
The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is organized under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs Islands and Fisheries the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE). The Forum is sponsored by the Piraeus Port Authority and the Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens.
For additional information press enquiries should be directed to:
Theodore Vokos Project Manager tel.: +30 210 4283608
Chris Mayer JLA Media Ltd tel.: +44 208 370 1748