The 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is to be held on 25th-26th April this year at Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Palace Hotel.
This biennial event comes at a time when the cruise industry is looking to fully recover from the pandemic and chart a path towards a sustainable future.
The participation of CLIA at the event is a testament to the importance of the region and the need for new destinations and markets to emerge, the organisers said.
The forum will feature a high-profile line-up of speakers. For example, the keynote speech will be delivered by Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Global Chair and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.
Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, who has also confirmed her presence at the event, emphasised the importance of sustainable cruising and integrated planning.
“Cruising is a sustainable mode of travel, and together with the ports and destinations, we will continue to develop while taking everyone’s interests into account – through integrated planning and better management of guest flows,” she said.
The speakers will focus on a number of key issues, including destination delivery, the development and upgrade of port and tourism infrastructure to encourage and enable growth, the need to properly assess the economic benefit and environmental impact for a given destination and the capacity for shore-side electric power-connectivity, amongst others.
They will also discuss the challenges of berth reservation and assignment, particularly in marquee ports with limited berthing ability.
Confirmed speakers include – Manolis Alevropoulos, Vice President, Celebrity Cruises; Spiros Almpertis, Vice President Port Operations, Itinerary Planning and Fuel Management, Crystal Cruises; Figen Ayan, President of MedCruise; Michele Bosco, Manager Shore Excursions Mediterranean, North Africa & Black Sea, Holland America Group; Linden Coppell, Vice President Sustainability & ESG of MSC Cruises; Aziz Gungor, East Med Ports Regional Director, Global Ports Holding PLC & General Manager, Kusadasi Cruise Port; George Koumpenas, President of Hellenic Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members’ Union; Ukko Metsola, Vice President, Government Relations, EMEA, Royal Caribbean Group; Marie-Caroline Laurent, Director General of CLIA Europe; Athanasios Liagkos, Executive Chairman of the BoD & Managing Director, ThPA SA; Minas Papadakis, CEO, Heraklion Port Authority; Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Strategic Communications Director, ThPA SA; Mark Robinson, Senior Vice President Cruise Operations, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours; Chris Theophilides, CEO, Celestyal Cruises; Constantine Venetopoulos, Director of Communications & PR, Variety Cruises and Yu Zenggang, Chairman, Piraeus Port Authority.
Chris Theophilides, Celestyal Cruises, commented: “We are delighted to participate in this year’s Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, particularly as it takes place in our homeport of Thessaloniki, an up-and-coming city that has plenty to offer visitors in the way of history, culture and unrivalled gastronomy.
“As Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean are our home, we look forward to constructive dialogue between the authorities and cruise companies to ensure sustainable development within the area, which will benefit both the national and the local economy.”
Spiros Almpertis, Crystal Cruises, added: “I am very happy to participate in the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, which is a key event for cruise and passenger shipping in Greece, the Eastern Med and the Black Sea. We can gain advantage by meeting great leaders from all sectors of the cruise industry, such as owners, governmental authorities, ports and port agents, and altogether we can explore ways of developing the importance of every brand service level and what the expectation is.”
HAL’s Bosco, said: “I expect to meet and reconnect with international industry leaders and authorities, and possibly tie new business relations. Furthermore, I look forward to discussing topics and challenges of common interest and learn of the most recent ship’s industry innovations.
“Meeting professionals from every sea tourism sector, interchanging viewpoints and new ideas is not only beneficial to everyone’s business, but also very rewarding,” he said.
CLIA Europe is organising a session entitled ‘Pathways to Net Zero’ to offer practical examples of implementation and a guide through the maze to net zero.
This session will cover topics ranging from de-carbonisation, port infrastructure and safety requirements to the Poseidon principles. The imperative need to de-carbonise is a challenge faced by the entire maritime sector, and the cruise industry has stated its commitment to pursuing net zero carbon cruising by 2050.
It will explore the pathways available to achieve net zero and the challenges that need to be overcome. The three pillars of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) offer a framework to measure and understand how sustainably an organisation is operating, and the session will provide insights on how these principles can be put into practice.
The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will also host the ‘YES to SEApping Forum 2023’ to reach out to the younger generation in Thessaloniki. This initiative aims to inform young people about the evolving Blue Economy by covering both the shipping and sea tourism industries.
The organisers have invited representatives of shipping organisations and institutions so that the young participants from northern Greece can gain a global view of the breadth of the industry and the opportunities that shipping offers across its entire spectrum.