Collaboration on sustainable cruise tourism discussed with local authorities during CLIA visit in Santorini


·         CLIA representatives and the Mayor of Santorini agreed on a joint way forward for future cruise tourism on the island.

·         CLIA supportive of Mayor’s intention to implement the daily cruise cap.

·         Cruise industry calls for holistic approach to destination management on the island.

5 July 2024 — The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise community, representing 95% of the industry, reinforced the importance of dialogue as part of its commitment to responsible tourism, during a CLIA visit to Santorini, on Thursday, July 4th.

Representing CLIA, Mrs. Maria Deligianni, Regional Director, Eastern Mediterranean, and Mr. Nikos Mertzanidis, Vice-President, Ports & Destinations, visited the popular Aegean Island and met with the Mayor of Santorini, Mr. Nikolaos Zorzos, the President of the Municipal Port Fund of Santorini, Mr. Georgios Nomikos, the President of the Municipal Council, Mrs. Georgia Nomikou, and the Special Advisor to the Mayor, Mr. Anastasios Konidaris.

At the meeting, CLIA and the Mayor of Santorini agreed to work jointly for the sustainable future of cruise tourism in Santorini. CLIA acknowledged that cruise tourism management in Santorini is a priority for the sector in Greece, as included in CLIA’s Action Plan for Greece that was launched last year.

The Mayor of Santorini, Mr. Nikolaos Zorzos said: “We are pleased that the Municipality of Thira discussed and agreed with CLIA the solutions for the sustainable operation of cruising in Santorini, aiming to protect the uniqueness of the destination, as well as the passenger experience.

CLIA’s Maria Deligianni said: “Santorini is a beautiful location that is extremely popular, and we share the view expressed recently by Prime Minister Mitsotakis on the importance of responsible tourism management for the island. Mayor Zorzos has been clear with us from the beginning of this season about his intention to implement strictly the existing daily cap of 8.000 cruise visitors at 75% cruise capacity, and we are supportive of this position, recognizing the circumstances of Santorini. Whilst we believe that a holistic approach to address tourism flows is necessary, we are pleased to be the first to work with the Mayor of Santorini in this direction”.

In the meeting, CLIA reaffirmed that since the initial introduction of the daily cap of 8.000 cruise visitors in 2018, cruise lines remained committed to implementing the rules as prescribed by the local administration.

She added: “As in Mykonos, in Santorini as well we have supported the local efforts to implement a berth management system, accompanied by a transparent berthing policy, with clear rules and criteria. This is the only way to spread cruise calls during the day and week”.

CLIA’s engagement in Santorini is part of the cruise industry’s Action Plan for Greece that was launched last year, and aims to secure positive impacts for local communities, while delivering a guest experience that meets the high expectations of visitors to Greece.

While the development of tourism, including cruise tourism, has brought significant benefits to the Greek economy, CLIA’s Plan acknowledge that this growth may require new ways of working together, such as adjustments in itineraries, adaptations of port operations, and closer collaboration to improve destination management practices. This includes adoption of berth allocation systems and policies locally for careful planning of ship arrivals and departures, development of port infrastructure and berths for better itinerary planning, and the opening of new destinations.

The meeting also addressed various other matters, including the possible development of additional interfaces on the island and ways to improve cruise operations in Santorini.

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 of 55 cruise lines, including 304 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 the annual number of passengers will reach 34.7 million. 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. 

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