CLIA Europe organized a very interesting panel on Sustainable Tourism in Greece, in the context of the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2019, conveying a main message about the economic contribution of cruising not being enough to empower local communities, in the sense that a place should be good for its residents, in order to be good for its guests as well
The importance of collaboration among cruise companies, regulators, ports and destinations towards the achievement of sustainable growth in the cruise industry was discussed yesterday by representatives of cruise, port and destination companies at an impactful panel that was organized by the Cruise Lines International Association Europe (CLIA Europe), during the first day of the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2019. The CLIA Europe participation in the Forum was opened by Mr. Tom Boardley, Secretary General, CLIA Europe, who described the emerging trends likely to shape the future of the cruise industry globally and spoke about the deployment of cruising with the Mediterranean to represent 17.3% and second rank just behind the Caribbean, which ranks first with 34.4%. He also stressed that a place that’s not good for its residents, isn’t good for its guests as well.
Along the lines of this statement, CLIA Europe organized a panel, with the title “Partnership for Sustainable Tourism: Ships, Ports and Destinations”, where the Association was represented by Maria Deligianni, Government and Public Affairs Representative Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA Europe, who presented data about the Greek cruise industry and its course in the recent years, as well as CLIA’s strategy to preserve the sustainable development of cruise destinations in order to ensure a pleasant experience for cruise passengers, always with respect to the local communities of the destinations.
In specific, Mrs. Deligianni confirmed that more than 30 million people worldwide are expected to cruise in 2019, an increase of 5% compared to 2018, indicating that the world’s most popular destinations are going to receive a huge volume of travelers; however, she stressed that the economic contribution from cruising is not enough to empower local communities, as it is very important for their residents to feel good in order to offer positive experiences to travelers and thus to boost the development of local businesses.
The cruise sector may only represent 2% of the total tourism industry, but the need for strategic partnerships that will enhance the sustainability of both the cruise and the destinations is vital. Therefore, collaboration among international organizations, companies and destinations around the world is mandatory to ensure that cruising continues to be beneficial for both travelers and residents of the local communities at the ports of call.
To substantiate her arguments, Mrs. Deligianni presented a Case Study for one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet: the Greek island of Santorini.
Only in 2018, the island hosted more than 2.6 million visitors, which is 170 times the number of the local population. However, statistical analysis shows that crusing is not the main source of visitors arriving for a day on the island compared to those who visit it by ferries and by air, so the solutions and interventions should involve a holistic approach and various stakeholders.
In this context, CLIA created a multi-level strategy to manage the volume of visitors in the island, while creating pleasant conditions for its residents. Initially, CLIA discussed with the competent bodies the implementation of the berth allocation system for cruise ships in Santorini, in order to manage the arrival of cruise ships and their passengers, which could enhance the sustainability of the destinations if applied correctly and in a transparent manner.
At the same time, CLIA met with the Mayor of Santorini, Mr. Nikos Zorzos and local stakeholders to listen to the needs of the local community, while CLIA launched the online social media campaign “wearecruise”, to promote the direct positive impact that the cruise industry has at the local communities. CLIA then created an online campaign for the protection of animals used for transportation in Santorini, such as the “donkeys”, aiming to raise awareness among the people visiting the island to choose the companies that abide with the regulations and the conditions of safe animal treatment. In addition, in collaboration with local authorities, CLIA sought after new destinations and points on the island, such as the archaeological sites of Akrotiri, aiming at the relief of other overcrowded areas of Santorini, while also attended international functions, such as the ITB in Berlin, in order to discuss the challenges and the difficulties that this area is facing.
Mrs. Deligianni stressed the importance of collaboration towards the creation of an environment that fosters sustainable development for cruise destinations and the need to develop specialized sustainability programs for each destination, based on its features and peculiarities.
CLIA Europe Panel was, also, attended by:
- Mr. Charles (Bud) Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group, who discussed the efforts to reduce air pollutant emissions from cruise ships, alternative fuels and waste reduction
- Mrs. Sacha Rougier, Chair, Int’l Association of Ports and Harbors Cruise Committee/ Managing Director, Cruise Gate Hamburg, who presented the social, economic and environmental contribution of cruising, focusing on the initiatives taken by the Int’l Association of Ports and Harbors Cruise Committee that she represents
- Dr Ioannis Pappas, Director Mediterranean Region, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, who stressed the importance of validating the sustainability initiatives of cruise companies by specialized agencies and talked about the importance of a holistic approach to improve the situation
- Mr. Aris Batsoulis, Development Director & Head of Cruise Department, Corfu Port Authority S.A., who reported on the development of the cruise industry on the island of Corfu and the actions that Greek ports should take with a view to enhance the sustainability of destinations
Following CLIA Europe’s panel on sustainable cruise development, Mr. Bo Larsen, CLIA’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, presented CLIA’s Executive Partners Program, an exclusive, global platform that provides suppliers access to key cruise line decision makers and industry peers, with the aim to support them to grow their business, gain insight and expand their influence within the cruise industry.
CLIA also participates on the second day of the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, through a Workshop that will take place on the subject of “Cruise Sales: How can Travel Agents benefit from increased demand for Cruise Holidays”. The workshop will offer travel agents the chance to acquire skills and techniques on how to increase their business turnover through cruise sales. From the CLIA team, Mr. Andy Harmer, Senior Vice President Membership and Operations will also present the CLIA Travel Agent Program.
Finally, Mrs. Maria Deligianni will participate at the YES TO SEA TOURISM FORUM panel, which is dedicated to young entrepreneurship in the world of shipping and cruise. There, she will underline career opportunities that can be created from the development of the cruise business, i.e. sectors that are positively affected by the business of crusing.