The 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will bring together top executives and industry leaders from the international cruise sector to discuss the challenges and potential of the industry and highlight the importance of the Southeast Mediterranean region and the need for new destinations to keep pace with the industry’s rapid growth and emerging trends.
To be held on 25-26 April in Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Palace Hotel, the biennial event comes at a time when the cruise industry is looking to fully recover from the pandemic and chart a path towards a sustainable future.
The high-ranking participation of CLIA at the event is testament to the importance of the region and the need for new destinations and markets to emerge.
The forum is set to feature a high-profile line-up of speakers and the keynote speech will be delivered by Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Global Chair and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.
Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, who has also confirmed her presence at the event, emphasized the importance of sustainable cruising and integrated planning. «Cruising is a sustainable mode of travel, and together with the ports and destinations, we will continue to develop while taking everyone’s interests into account – through integrated planning and better management of guest flows.»
The speakers will focus on a number of key issues including destination delivery, the development and upgrade of port and tourism infrastructure to encourage and enable growth, the need to properly assess the economic benefit and environmental impact for a given destination and the capacity for shore-side electric power-connectivity, amongst others. They will also discuss the challenges of berth reservation and assignment, particularly in marquee ports with limited berthing ability.
With a line-up of top industry executives, the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is poised to generate significant interest and provide valuable insights for all participants.
Confirmed speakers include: Manolis Alevropoulos, Vice President, Celebrity Cruises, Spiros Almpertis, VP Port Operations, Itinerary Planning and Fuel Management, Crystal Cruises, Figen Ayan, President of MedCruise, Michele Bosco, Manager Shore Excursions Mediterranean, North Africa & Black Sea, Holland America Group, Linden Coppell, Vice President Sustainability & ESG of MSC Cruises, Aziz Gungor, East Med Ports Regional Director, Global Ports Holding PLC & General Manager, Kusadasi Cruise Port, George Koumpenas, President of Hellenic Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members’ Union, Ukko Metsola, Vice President, Government Relations, EMEA, Royal Caribbean Group, Marie-Caroline Laurent, Director General of CLIA Europe, Athanasios Liagkos, Executive Chairman of the BoD & Managing Director, ThPA SA, Minas Papadakis, Chief Executive Officer, Heraklion Port Authority, Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Strategic Communications Director, ThPA SA, Mark Robinson, Senior Vice President Cruise Operations, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, Chris Theophilides, CEO, Celestyal Cruises, Constantine Venetopoulos, Director of Communications & PR, Variety Cruises and and Yu Zenggang, Chairman, Piraeus Port Authority SA.
The event promises to be an opportunity for the cruise industry to come together and find solutions for the challenges facing the sector.
Theophilides, Celestyal Cruises, commented: “We are delighted to participate in this year’s Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, particularly as it takes place in our homeport of Thessaloniki, an up-and-coming city that has plenty to offer visitors in the way of history, culture and unrivalled gastronomy. As Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean are our home, we look forward to constructive dialogue between the authorities and cruise companies to ensure sustainable development within the area which will benefit both the national and the local economy.”
Almpertis, Crystal Cruises, said: “I am very happy to participate in Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum which is a key event for cruise and passenger shipping in Greece, the Eastern Med and the Black Sea. We can gain advantage by meeting great leaders from all sectors of the cruise industry, such as owners, Governmental authorities, ports and port agents, and altogether we can explore ways of developing the importance of every brand service level and what the expectation is.”
Bosco, Holland America Group, added: “I expect to meet and reconnect with international industry leaders and authorities, and possibly tie new business relations. Furthermore, I look forward to discussing topics and challenges of common interest and learn of the most recent ship’s industry innovations. Meeting professionals from every sea tourism sector, interchanging viewpoints and new ideas is not only beneficial to everyone’s business, but also very awarding.”
CLIA Europe highlights the importance of the event as it is organising a session titled ‘Pathways to Net Zero’ to offer practical examples of implementation and a guide through the maze to net zero. The session will cover topics ranging from decarbonisation, port infrastructure, and safety requirements to the Poseidon principles. The imperative need to decarbonise is a challenge faced by the entire maritime sector, and the cruise industry has stated its commitment to pursuing net zero carbon cruising by 2050. The session will explore the pathways available to achieve net zero and the challenges that need to be overcome. The three pillars of environment, social, and governance (ESG) offer a framework to measure and understand how sustainably an organisation is operating, and the session will provide insights on how these principles can be put into practice in the cruise industry.
The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will also host the ‘YES to SEApping Forum 2023’ to reach out to the younger generation in Thessaloniki. The forum aims to inform young people about the evolving Blue Economy by covering both the shipping and sea tourism industries. The forum has invited representatives of shipping organisations and institutions so that the young participants from northern Greece can gain a global view of the breadth of the industry and the opportunities that shipping offers across its entire spectrum.
Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions SA, said: «The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is an important event that brings together industry leaders and offers a platform for them to share their insights on the challenges and potential of the industry. We are thrilled to have CLIA Europe organise a session at the event, and we are excited to see the younger generation engage in the ‘YES to SEApping Forum 2023’. This year’s event promises to be one of the most significant events of the year for the cruise industry.”
The 2023 PSTF is sponsored by Diamond Sponsor Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A., Silver Sponsor Piraeus Port Authority SA, Bronze Sponsors Celestyal Cruises, Global Ports Holding, Heraklion Port Authority SA, Kyvernitis Travel and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation. The official airline is SKY express. It is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and the Ministry of Tourism and supported by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) and the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members.