Dear Valuable Members, Dear Friends,
I, along with the 12 board members of MedCruise Association, we do appreciate the visionary approach of founding Mediterranean ports back to 1996 including Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Corsica, Cyprus Ports, Livorno, Monaco, Piraeus, Tarragona, Valletta, Venice and Volos, who identified early challenges and high calibre demand of the growing cruise industry.
For over 26 years as dedicated professionals in the cruise industry, thanks to all our efforts, we have positioned MedCruise as the largest cruise port and destination association in the world. I am very happy to share with you that from 140 ports and 35 associate members, we have grown to 150 ports and 47 associate members from 22 countries in just a year.
The number of members continued to increase because we gained back the confidence of some of them but also, we responded to the expectations of all our members, whatever their nationality or volume was.
The 12 tasks of our 12-board members are reflecting the holistic approach that we, as the elected President and elected board members, have towards you and the cruise industry, in order to create sustainable ports, destinations, seas and planet.
As you all know, sustainability is at the core of our mandate, the most important pillar of our Association, and it is approached in a holistic, human manner. Collaboration-innovation-implementation of different actions define the #MedCruise4OurPlanet vision. We collaborate with GSTC on the sustainable destination criteria and the European Commission by participating in different forums, networks, working groups and advisory committees. CLIA is a strong partner too and we will be developing joint initiatives to promote sustainable cruise activities in the Med and its adjoining seas, and, we have set the Fit for 55 at the centre of these discussions as a common target.
We are supporting our activities with research, studies, and projects to develop our knowledge about our industry and shape respective strategies (port tariff study, environmental studies, maps etc). Apart from the social-economic impact on the cruise sector that we are developing in collaboration with Bocconi University- Italy; recently, MedCruise was funded by the EC to identify joint/integrated strategies and solutions for preventing and minimising the potential polluting impacts of cruise and tourism activities on the Mediterranean hydrosphere.
As a first, MedCruise is continuing to develop a data governance project, that you saw during our last General Assembly, of the potential and value of using data in our modern world. The data governance will not only visualise data but implements a data governance structure that will help the organisation tackle a no-man’s-land head-on and assist in taking micro and macro decisions based on accurate and updated data. Comprehending and visually consuming goals, KPI’s, growth potentials, and process improvements will foster collaboration between ports and help to achieve a better and more detailed understanding of passenger needs, port growth opportunities, and connection of ports to all its stakeholders of the cruise industry.
Communication and collaboration strategies for the positive impact of the cruise industry are an innate and necessary approach as a leading port association. We succeeded in being a bridge between the Turkish and Greek governments for the opening of borders; we will continue to seek interactions with the EU institutions and influence the decisions of the European Community, to collaborate and develop common actions with other Associations. We continuously follow and actively contribute to the discussions and works of the European Forums and Groups that we are members: European Ports Forum (EPF), European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF), European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO)- Cruise and Ferry Port Network (CFPN). The European Commission has invited MedCruise to participate in the peer review group of the EC Charter of good practices for sustainable cruise tourism.
Bringing our members together along with cruise lines or key executives of the industry has been remarkably achieved with our Morning Coffees, Professional Development Courses or any social activities that are designed to cover contemporary, dynamic, and relevant matters and/or issues of the cruise industry.
Collaborations with tour guide associations, tour buses, chambers of commerce, and destination authorities are already initiated. Special programs are currently being shaped within the Destination Development strategy and the cruise lines are amazed by our sensitive and proactive approach not as a port but as destinations, including the hinterland.
In the same philosophy, the issues that format the strategic relationship between the port and the city and create collaborations for common interests are all discussed in depth in our working groups. Constructive dialogues, partnerships, synergies, joint research and development initiatives are instrumental for our association and our world. AIVP- the worldwide network of port cities- is a core partner. Together, we have launched a joint Working Group focused on sustainable port-city relationships and cruises with the main goal of reflecting and sharing good practices that can facilitate a better coexistence between port cities and cruises. Collaborative projects will always have the support of the Association. Adrijo project, with the participation of Ancona, Venice, Trieste, Ravenna, Rijeka, Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Split, is a benchmark project which promotes new forms of sustainable tourism connected to the appreciation of local cultural heritage.
As another first, sponsorship opportunities are offered to our members first, then to stakeholders and partners of the industry. The decision for a second income stream is taken to support the decision for the continuance of the 20% discount on the membership fees (a decision that has been applied since 2013) but, above all, to respond to the significant increase in the activities of our Association. The cruise media partners have always been of tremendous help for the cruise lines to know our destinations and ports better, and we all feel truly thankful for all the fantastic words, which poured out from their pens. MedCruise’s PR and Marketing activities went beyond our industry, and some of our ports and association were featured in the international press, influencers, and broadcasting platforms such as NTV, Diario del Puerto, Financial Times, Ladevi – Agencia de Viajes LATAM, TRT World, Forbes… More to come.
“Today, further to a year of this mandate constituted of great leaders of our industry that you chose in the majority, I wanted to take the time to contact you to try to share a summary of the major activities of MedCruiseAssociation but also kindly ask for your feedbacks about this very active year in one sentence, paragraph or even video so that we can continue representing you at its best”.
As always and as a true commitment to all of you, I remain one mail or phone away. I look forward to seeing you in our next Professional Development course, which will take place on the 24th of November, here in Istanbul.
Figen Ayan, MedCruise President.