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Prospects for East Med cruising under the spotlight at 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum

Prospects for East Med cruising under the spotlight at 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum
Sea tourism in Greece and Turkey is set for a significant upturn over the next two seasons as the region’s ports and destinations stand to benefit from an anticipated redeployment of cruise capacity back to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Discussions on the positive impact on Greece’s and the region’s economies from more robust cruising and yachting sectors will take centre stage at next week’s 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, to be held from May 26–27 at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre.

‘As geopolitical tensions hopefully subside and their impact is waning, shore excursion yields of the culturally and historically rich and diverse Eastern Mediterranean are set to soar with the cruise giants eyeing a higher penetration of destinations across a region which boasts the highest port density in the world,’ said Theodore Vokos, executive director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., the organiser of the event.

‘For Greece in particular, the financial contribution of Sea Tourism, spearheaded by the cruise sector, can be as high as €1bn annually according to study made by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping. Sea Tourism has the potential to create 40,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the foreseeable future, most of them to cater for the needs of cruise tourism, as in 2015 Greece expects more than 5 million cruise passenger calls.,’ he added.

According to Alexandros Lamnides, general manager of Greek Tourism Confederation, one of the event’s longstanding supporters, ‘2015 will be the year we will be investing more than ever in our people, including our employees, owners of small businesses, or merchants, all of whom can only gain when tourism performs well. This is the year we want to highlight Greece's best-kept secrets by working in close partnerships with local communities to safeguard our truly unique tourism product.’

Kerry Anastassiadis, ceo Celestyal Cruises and member of the CLIA Europe executive committee, which will hold a meeting during the event, said: ‘The cruise industry in Greece has experienced continuous growth in recent years, ranking third in passenger numbers throughout Europe, and in 2015 is expected to give the Greek tourism industry a significant boost.’

He added, ‘Celestyal Cruises is the only home-porting Greek cruise line, with 627 calls to the ports of Greece. We believe that for Greece to attract more international cruise operators, it is of extreme importance that the cruise industry is made a strategic priority,  benefitting the Greek economy as the cruise industry generates revenue for local economies and stimulates the shipping industry. ‘

A key stakeholder on the issue of homeporting is MedCruise, the association representing port members from 20 different countries of the Mediterranean and Adjoining Seas. MedCruise secretary general, Thanos Pallis, said: ‘Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is a key networking and relationship building event for cruise ports, cruise lines and destinations as it reinforces collaboration that ultimately increases the value of the region’s port services.’