The CEOs of some of the world’s biggest cruise lines will participate in the first virtual panel discussion that will kick off the 6th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2021 on 25th May.
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises (pictured), Michael Thamm, Group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises and Chris Theophilides, CEO of Celestyal Cruises will join the day’s first session entitled ‘The Restart of Cruising in Europe and the Mediterranean’.
Each executive will share his company’s initiatives for post-pandemic cruising, his own vision for the restart and the measures and protocols each cruise line is implementing for the interim period.
They will also discuss the reasons for the industry’s strong backing of the Eastern Med as this year’s cruise hotspot, the region that in 2021 will host the highest number of cruise deployments in Europe.
AIDA, Celebrity, Costa, Hapag Lloyd, MSC, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea and TUI along with Celestyal Cruises will run East Mediterranean summer programmes this season.
Piraeus will be the homeport for vessels from Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Celestyal Cruises, Holland America Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises.
Celebrity has chosen Greece’s biggest port for the global debut of its newest vessel ‘Celebrity Apex’. Greece’s Corfu and Heraklion, Limassol in Cyprus and Israel’s Haifa are ports that also feature strongly in the lines’ homeporting schedules.
“After all the geopolitical problems that hampered the East Mediterranean’s cruise development in recent years, the industry is now choosing the region as a main theatre for its successful restart in Europe,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Chairman and Executive Chairman MSC Cruises, who will keynote the event with his opening remarks about the state of the industry.
Other sessions during the one-day event will discuss the impact on shore excursions, destination management and delivery under the new health protocols, the environmental challenges ahead and the impact of COVID-19 on port operation and development.
The outlook for the 2021 season for cruising in Greece will be discussed in a dedicated session as the country banks on international visitor arrivals to revive an economy heavily dependent on tourism revenue.
CLIA estimated the disruption last year due to the pandemic cost the world’s economy $77 bill in global economic activity and 518,000 jobs.
“Cruise recovery won’t be plain sailing. The waves are high, seas are rough, however the collective minds and will of the industry and its stakeholders are strong enough to weather the storm caused by the pandemic and guide us to calmer waters and safer harbours,” said Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions, the event’s organiser.
“The timing of this year’s PSTF is impeccable as we will be able to take the pulse and capture the mood of the global cruise industry almost in real time, within two weeks of the official resumption of commercial operations,” he added.
Registration is free of charge for members of the sea tourism and maritime community. Online functionality will enable delegates to ask questions. Recordings of the sessions will be available on demand for all registered users until 10th June, 2021.
The 2021 Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is sponsored by the Greek National Tourism Organisation, Heraklion Port Authority, Indev Software, MedCruise, Piraeus Port Authority, Alba Graduate Business School, Celestyal Cruises and Thessaloniki Port Authority.
The Posidonia Forum is organised under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and the Ministry of Tourism and is supported by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, CLIA, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports and the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members.