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UNWTO and Greece to Collaborate on Maritime Tourism Research Centre

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. Photo source: UNWTO

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for the establishment of the new maritime tourism research centre in Greece. Photo source: UNWTO

The first research station dedicated to measuring the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism across the Mediterranean will be established in Greece, the Greek Tourism Ministry said on Friday.

A collaboration between the ministry and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the research and monitoring centre will be based at the University of the Aegean. From there, experts will capture and collate measurement data and analysis relating to the environmental, economic, and social impact of tourism. The research centre will function as a hub of cooperation, exchange of good practices and know-how for the collection and processing of data related to coastal and maritime tourism.

“The research centre will soon become a reference point for the study and protection of our coasts and seas,” Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said.

The announcement was made in Athens during the UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism, part of the 66th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe (CEU).

UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism in Athens. Photo source: UNWTO

UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism in Athens. Photo source: UNWTO

As underlined by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, coastal and maritime tourism is one of the most important economic drivers within the Mediterranean basin.

“This new research centre can provide key data to guide the restart and future development of the sector, ensuring it fulfils its potential to provide opportunity for coastal communities and to protect and celebrate natural and cultural heritage,” he said.

On his part, Pierfrancesco Vago, Global Chairman of CLIA and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said that CLIA is pleased to support the UNWTO research and monitoring centre.

“As part of the cruise industry’s commitment to responsible travel, we are pursuing carbon neutral cruising in Europe by 2050, and we work closely with cruise destinations and coastal communities to support economic growth in a sustainable manner,” he said.

Co-hosted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Celebrity Cruises, the UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism took place on the Celebrity APEX cruise ship in Piraeus Port.

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