Ensuring the sustainable development of cruise destinations which will benefit both cruise passengers and host communities was the focus this week of a panel discussion during the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (PSTF) held in Athens.
Maria Deligianni, government and public affairs representative Eastern Mediterranean for CLIA Europe, noted that over 30 million people worldwide are expected to cruise in 2019, up by 5 percent against 2018, which means that the world’s most popular destinations, including Greece’s Santorini, are going to receive a huge volume of travelers.
Santorini came into the spotlight during the panel discussion titled “Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism: Ships, Ports and Destinations”.
Deligianni presented Santorini as a case study noting that the Greek island hosted over 2.6 million visitors in 2018, which is 170 times the number of its population.
She added however that cruise travel was not the main source of visitors to the island. Underlining the importance of a sustainable approach to travel, Deligianni referred to the number of holidaymakers also arriving on ferries and planes, adding that any solutions and interventions should involve a holistic approach and all stakeholders.
She went on to refer to a multi-level strategy created by CLIA to manage visitor flows to the island, while at the same time taking into consideration the needs of its residents.
In this direction CLIA met with competent bodies for the implementation of a 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. CLIA also met with Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos and local stakeholders to exchange views about the needs of the local community.
Deligianni concluded that though the economic contribution from cruise travel may not be enough to empower local communities, it is very important for residents to “feel good in order to offer positive experiences to travelers and thus to boost the development of local businesses”.
She also participated in the YES to Sea Tourism forum panel, dedicated to young entrepreneurship, where she spoke about career opportunities that can be created from the development of the cruise industry.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media sponsor of the 5th Ρosidonia Sea Tourism Forum.