The challenges and opportunities affecting the future of sea tourism in Greece and the wider region will be addressed by more than 800 delegates, including representatives from cruise and yacht companies, ports and destinations, at the 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum to be held May 26–27 at the Megaron Athens International Conference Center.
During the forum, discussions on the positive impact on Greece’s and the region’s economies from more robust cruising & yachting sectors will take center stage, the organiser of the event, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., said at a press conference on Tuesday.
According to the organizer, sea tourism in Greece and Turkey is set for a significant upturn over the next two seasons as the region’s most profitable cruise destinations stand to benefit from an anticipated redeployment of part of the world’s cruise capacity back to the Eastern Mediterranean. This will follow a period of capacity relocation compounded by the Mid East’s geopolitical tensions and the Eurozone’s financial crisis.
“As geopolitical tensions hopefully subside and their impact is waning, shore excursion yields of the culturally and historically rich and diverse Eastern Mediterranean are set to soar with the cruise giants eyeing a higher penetration of destinations across a region which boasts the highest port density in the world,” said the executive director of Posidonia Exhibitions, Theodore Vokos.
For Greece in particular, the financial contribution of sea tourism, spearheaded by the cruise sector, can be as high as one billion euros annually, according to study conducted by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping.
Mr. Vokos underlined that sea tourism has the potential to create 40,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the foreseeable future, most of them to cater for the needs of cruise tourism, as in 2015 Greece expects more than 5 million cruise passenger calls.
“Yachting also contributes significant employment opportunities as the cumulative number of jobs created in the local economy is equivalent to the number of marina berths available. In Barcelona for example, for every 100 berths the local economy generates 4.4 jobs in marinas and 40 jobs in other related sectors.”
In addition, a further 8.7 million Greek and international tourists use the services of ferry companies connecting the mainland with the islands, thereby further stimulating tourism, an industry which contributes 260,000 jobs and 6.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
Kerry Anastassiadis, CEO Celestyal Cruises and member of the CLIA Europe Executive Committee, said that the cruise industry in Greece has experienced continuous growth in recent years, ranking third in passenger numbers throughout Europe, and in 2015 the cruise industry is expected to give the Greek tourism industry a significant boost.
“For Greece to attract more international cruise operators, it is of extreme importance that the cruise industry is made a strategic priority, as with proper organization and handling, cruising in Greece can be established globally”, Mr. Anastassiadis said.
Celestyal Cruises is the only home-porting Greek cruise line, with 627 calls to the ports of Greece.
3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum
Along with the discussions of sea tourism in Greece, the 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will also host a number of high profile seminars, presentations and industry meetings including the Executive Committee Meeting of the Cruise Lines International Association – CLIA Europe, which will table issues pertaining to the growth potential for the cruise industry, the projected increase of regional deployment for 2016 and the current barriers to growth for both cruise calls and homeporting in Greece.
Within the framework of the forum, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Hellenic Republic will hold the “China-Greece Tourism Cooperation Seminar & Investment Promotion for the Cruise and Yacht Industries of Hainan Province”.
Another key highlight of this year’s forum is the “European F&B Cruise Ship Supply Industry Workshop”, which aims to introduce and familiarize local exporters of quality F&B products, processing manufacturers, wineries and gastronomic product specialists to the workings of the cruise sector.
GTP is a media sponsor of the forum.