The safe resumption of cruise travel in 2022, port operations, responsible tourism and decarbonization topped the agenda of talks between Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – Europe executives and Greek government officials this week.
More specifically, in her first visit to Greece, CLIA’s newly appointed Director General for Europe, Marie-Caroline Laurent, and CLIA National Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Maria Deligianni, met with Tourism Minister Vasilis Kikilias and Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis to discuss actions for the 2022 cruise season and the implementation of a recently revised Greek cruise protocol.
“The support shown by Greece during this period has created a unique momentum to further the country’s position on the cruise map, as well as the cruise industry’s contribution to the Greek tourism economy,” said Laurent, commending Greece for its instrumental role in facilitating the restart of cruise operations this year.
Laurent also referred to smooth port operations combined with responsible tourism and decarbonization efforts. She welcomed the proposal by the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the creation of an EU Research Center for alternative marine fuels and technologies.
“We welcome working with the government to help realize this potential, including development of port infrastructure to stimulate homeporting, smooth port operations, and careful planning and management of developed and upcoming ports and destinations.”
Deligianni also referred to the importance of establishing Greece into a homeporting destination.
“Greece was one of the first countries globally to welcome cruise ships and put people back to work,” she said, adding that of 30 CLIA member cruise ships sailing in Greece this year, 23 ships homeported here. By the end of the year, we estimate that we will reach 50 prevent of cruise ship calls of 2019 activities. We are even more optimistic for 2022 and we are eager to restart from early March,” she said.
Deligianni went on to refer to the need for “a holistic approach” to better manage tourism flows. “Collecting and analyzing data will help to identify the real challenges,” she said.
Lastly, CLIA endorsed the memorandum of cooperation signed between Greece and Turkey last week in the field of tourism and cruise activity, and welcomed a decision by Greek authorities to allow the arrival of cruise ships originating or passing through the Turkish ports of Kusadasi and Galata.