Luxury Cruise to Dominate the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Greece
The appeal of Greece and the East Mediterranean as an ideal region for luxury cruising will be one of the main highlights of the upcoming 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (PSTF) in Greece, organized by Posidonia Exhibitions S.A.
Scheduled to take place for the first time in Thessaloniki during April 25-26, the PSTF will include a session that will examine the increasing importance of lesser-known destinations for the luxury travel market segment, in conjunction with infrastructure challenges and the role of sustainability and authenticity as desirability factors.
The session will be titled “The Appeal of Venturing to Non-Mainstream Destinations: Luxury & Expedition Cruising leading the Way”.
According to the Allied Market Research Report, Greece’s luxury tourism offering is expected to yield an annual revenue of USD 2,7 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 11.5 percent from 2021 to 2030.
“A significant part of this revenue will come from luxury cruise activity and on-shore spending from this segment’s high-income passengers,” said Posidonia Exhibitions S.A. Managing Director Theodore Vokos.
New cruise destinations necessary
It should be mentioned that the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will be held away from Athens for the first time in the event’s 12-year-long history.
“Our decision was in sync with emerging trends in an industry that wishes to constructively address growing criticism for its contribution to overtourism in many cruise hotspots around the world,” said Vokos.
Moreover, research shows that diverting some cruise traffic from over-frequented destinations will enrich the itinerary design menu, as well as act as a tool that can protect the natural, cultural and tourism values needed for a sustainable future.
“Thessaloniki was chosen as the host of this year’s event to signify the need for more port alternatives and new destinations to dilute impact and optimise cruise traffic management in the East Mediterranean region,” Vokos said, adding that the Greek northern city is a natural gateway for emerging Balkan markets, which is another important topic to be addressed during the forum.
According to data provided by Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours Senior Vice President Operations Mark Robinson, the luxury cruise segment represents 3.7 percent of the industry’s total market share worldwide, with the Mediterranean Sea owning over a third of that with 37.01%.
“One of the main drivers for the region’s appeal is the East Med archipelago which offers unique, famous worldwide destinations and hidden gems which offer ultimate customisation destination services,” he said.
With more than 400 inhabited islands and coastal cities across Italy, Croatia, Greece, Albania and Turkey, the East Mediterranean and Adriatic seas collectively offer one of the highest densities of destination alternatives in the world, according to Posidonia Exhibitions.
Some 85 luxury vessels totalling 36,184 berths are expected to be operating cruises globally this year. This represents an annual capacity of 1,050,000 passengers and the prediction for 2027 is up to 94 ships totalling 44,764 berths and 1,378,000 passengers.
Other interesting topics to be discussed during PSTF 2023 will include the long-term prospects for the cruise industry as an important sector of the leisure travel market and the necessity for regions and cruise lines to cooperate on the enhancement of destination offerings, on the upgrading of infrastructures, on the popularization of alternative ports of call and finally, on improvements of cruise traffic management aimed at defusing over-tourism.
Τhe two-day PSTF will be held at Thessaloniki’s landmark five-star hotel Makedonia Palace. Participating cruise brands will include Azamara Cruises, Compagnie du Ponant, Scenic Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Variety Cruises and recently re-launched Crystal Cruises.