CLIA meets with Greek Ministers, for the first time after the elections in June, to discuss how to maximise the benefits to Greece from cruising and help to unlock its potential for sustainable growth as a cruise hub
Representatives of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), members of the Government, and key stakeholders discussed CLIA’s proposed Action Plan for Greece for the next five years, during a CLIA visit in Athens last week.
Development of homeporting activities, the opening of new destinations, and the need for port infrastructure to meet the requirements of the EU Fit For 55 legislation, as well as the potential for cruise shipbuilding in Greece, the extension of the cruise season, and opportunities for seafarers were all on the agenda.
Represented by Marie Caroline Laurent, Director General of CLIA in Europe and Maria Deligianni, CLIA’s National Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, and joined by cruise line members, CLIA met with the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Mr. Christos Stylianides, Minister of Culture Ms. Lina Mendoni and the Deputy Minister of Tourism Ms. Elena Rapti.
CLIA’s Director General in Europe, Marie Caroline Laurent, said: “The goal of our proposed Action Plan is to maximise the benefits to Greece from cruising and help to unlock its potential for sustainable growth. Our plan was well received by the Ministers, and we are pleased that our vision is consistent with the Government’s priorities”.
CLIA’s National Director, Eastern Mediterranean Maria Deligianni added: “Greece is seeing great growth in cruising the last years, bringing significant benefits to its economy, generating more than €1,1 billion euros annually and supporting thousands of jobs. We welcome this development and, with great respect for the communities that support the cruise sector, we cooperate on itineraries, port operations, and improved destination management practices, to provide sustainable, optimal experiences for communities and visitors”.
The meeting with the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Mr. Christos Stylianides confirmed the need for port infrastructure and investments for development of homeporting activities and the opening of new destinations. Discussions also focused on the need of port infrastructure to meet the requirements of the EU Fit For 55 legislation, and production and supply of sustainable marine fuels at key ports in Greece. Discussions also included how the recent revitalization of shipyards in Greece and the potential for cruise shipbuilding could represent a business opportunity for the country. CLIA also shared how it is raising awareness of career opportunities in the cruise sector through educational ship visits for Greek students.
The meeting with Minister of Culture and Sports Ms. Mendoni confirmed that concrete steps are being taken to develop new archaeological sites to highlight the country’s unique cultural history, as well as to improve conditions at existing sites, including the Acropolis in Athens. CLIA congratulated the Minister for the actions already taken to improve the guest experience and noted that the Acropolis of Athens can serve as a model of sustainable tourism management practices for other archaeological sites of global significance.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism Ms. Rapti embraced CLIA’s proposal to work jointly on extending the cruise season and opening new destinations given the wide variety of options that Greece can offer to cruise visitors. CLIA stressed the need for a holistic approach to destination management to manage tourism flows. Discussions also covered the need to encourage partnerships among Eastern Mediterranean countries, highlighting the uniqueness of the region which brings together three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. Lastly, the Minister embraced CLIA’s initiative to inform the young people about the vast range of career opportunities in the cruise sector.
The delegation also met the President of Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Mr. Vassilis Korkidis, the President of the Hellenic Ship Suppliers and Exporters Association Mr. Nikolaos Mavrikos, the Director General of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) Ms Katerina Peppa, the General Manager of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Ms Maria Gatsou, and the Director General of HELMEPA, Ms Olga Stavropoulou.
CLIA’s proposed Action Plan for Greece is based on five pillars:
1. Extend the tourist season and promote new destinations locally, as well as regionally by encouraging partnerships among Eastern Mediterranean countries. 2. Create the right port infrastructure and operating environment including: the development of a berth allocation system and policy locally for the careful planning of cruise ship arrivals & departures, the development of port infrastructure and berths for homeport activities and for better itinerary planning, the infrastructure to accommodate the application of the new EU border rules, which will be implemented by Autumn of 2024, the development of shipbuilding and repair activities for cruise ships in Greece. 3. Develop sustainable tourism practices, including the need for destination management plans for the popular destinations that will offer a holistic approach to tourism management locally. 4. Introduce onshore power solutions to match environmental technologies deployed onboard and support the production and supply of sustainable marine fuels, in which we believe Greece can play a major role as a maritime nation. 5. Inform and raise awareness between Greeks on employment opportunities in shipping and cruise industry specifically, as well as build the skills of the next generation of seafarers.
About the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice for the industry as the leading authority of the global cruise community, with a membership comprising 55 cruise lines, including 294 ocean going cruise ships, representing 95% of the cruise sector. On behalf of its members, affiliates and partners, the organization supports policies and practices that foster a secure, healthy, and sustainable cruise ship environment, promoting positive travel experiences for millions of travelers who cruise annually. This year, CLIA forecasts that annual the number of passengers will reach 31.5 million passenger – surpassing 2019 levels. The CLIA community includes the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and a widespread network of stakeholders, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers, and business services. For further information, please visit cruising.org or europe.cruising.org