He was addressing over 200 attendees at the CLIA Europe dinner held in London on Tuesday evening.
Key executives spotted included CLIA president & ceo Cindy D’Aoust, Carnival UK chairman David Dingle, Costa Cruises president Neil Palomba, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Silversea Cruises’ chairman Manfredi Lefebvre.
Anastassiadis recalled The World Travel & Tourism Council figures which show tourism as the biggest contributor to GDP globally with 1.3bn people taking a vacation abroad each year (excluding domestic tourism).
‘With cruising projected to reach 27.2m passengers this year we still have a long way to go but it’s exciting as there is only one way to go and that is up,’ he exclaimed.
With growth comes responsibility, noted Anastassiadis.
He singled out two areas for continued efforts: sustainability and how to get to a carbon zero footprint.
A great follower of global news and industry trends and not just within tourism and cruise, Anastassiadis spoke of the explosive growth of new energy vehicles in China and the developments being made in the manufacture of lithium battery ions ‘which will impact us all and maybe faster than we realise, but when I read this I get even more enthusiastic about our future.’
Back to the grass roots of cruising, the CLIA Europe chair commented on the challenge of how to deal with over crowding or tourism phobia. ‘Whatever term you want to call it the issue is lots of people going to one place at the same time and with global holidaymakers projected to reach 1.8bn by 2030 this is not going to go away.’
If you compare how the cruise industry may grow we may see a figure of 50m guests by 2030 so our industry will still be small in the overall scheme of things but its only 12 years away so we have to manage overcrowding, he added.
He spoke of the impact of new technologies and virtual reality options of being able to see an attraction or famous sight without even having to go there. He finished his address asking the dinner guests representing ports and destinations and shipyards and suppliers: might we start seeing this technology coming into mainstream cruising and what possibilities that might lead to?
This led neatly into serving of the main course and clearly sparked the dinner conversations.