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Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum for Greece

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 31, 2011

Posidonia Forum on Onassis Cultural Centre

Posidonia Forum on Onassis Cultural Centre

21-22 June 2011 in Athens

Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum to present growth potential and investment opportunities for Greece, Eastern Med and Black Sea

The potential for sea tourism and its significance as a key factor in the development of the economies of Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region will be examined in depth during the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, scheduled to take place 21-22 June 2011 at the prestigious Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.

The forum will focus on three key areas of sea tourism: cruise shipping, the yachting industry and inter-island and passenger shipping. The first Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum comes at a time when this form of tourism is showing rapid growth globally, hence highlighting considerable development and investment opportunities for the East Med’s economies, as well as many new challenges. The aim of the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is to stimulate further growth of the sea tourism industry in Greece and the Eastern Med, as this industry can act as a catalyst for economic development for the countries of the region.

“The 1st Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will bring together government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs and representatives of the region’s sea tourism industries and create the opportunity to interact, discuss and explore ways which can help develop this important sector and maximize the sea tourism potential of this  region” said Theodore Vokos, Project Manager, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A, the organiser of the event, on the occasion of the official Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum press conference. “The tourism industries and governments of Greece and other countries in the region welcomed our initiative and identified the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum as a great opportunity to discuss the future potential of the Cruise and Yachting Industries, while at the same time promoting their products to the decision makers of the major cruise lines and exploring investment opportunities in the yachting sector.”

The first day of the Forum on June 21st is dedicated to Cruising, which is the fastest growing form of Tourism worldwide. David Morris, Managing Director of the cruise consultancy firm David Morris International and co-moderator of the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum believes that: “the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea offer the most exciting and diverse cruising itineraries in the world and are creating demand in their own right as the market matures”. Co-moderator Chrissie Palassis, Director of the cruise consulting firm CTM Hellas, added: “For any given country, cruise development in today’s highly competitive environment requires dedicated hard work to meet many new challenges in areas such as legislation & systems, infrastructure & efficiency, cost & quality competitiveness and marketing strategy, all among the subjects we hope to discuss in the Forum.”

The importance of the region for the Cruise industry is best presented by Posidonia Forum’s speaker Giora Israel, Vice President of Carnival Corp: “Eight of Carnival Corporation & plc brands will be operating this season in the Mediterranean and all of them will include the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece and some also the Black Sea cruise.  This year Carnival Corporation & plc will have a wide variety of deployments in the region from the ultra-luxury Seabourn cruises to an extended deployment from Aida Cruises and Costa Cruises, Europe’s largest Cruise company, two Cunard Line queens, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, as well as Carnival Cruise Lines newly inaugurated Carnival Magic, one of our largest ships with a capacity of 3,690 passengers, and the corporation’s 100th ship”. He added: “Carnival Corporation & plc will be calling on practically every cruise port in the region and is looking to expand and strengthen its presence in the region”.

Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President Craig Milan will take part at the Posidonia Forum to also provide interesting insight about his company’s view of the region’s development: “The Eastern Mediterranean has become increasingly popular for all three of RCI’s brands, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara, prior to the political upheaval in many of the countries of North Africa this year, and we had been shifting more capacity to the region. However, these events have impacted on the demand for all sailings in the East Mediterranean, not only those which had scheduled calls in Egypt. We are hopeful that the demand improves as we move into 2012 and as such, we did not proceed with any changes in our planning for the next season. Looking towards the future, we have seen opportunity to develop some of the newer and smaller ports to enhance our itineraries in this area, especially in connection with the overcrowding that we are experiencing in Santorini and Mykonos. And added: “The Black Sea is also interesting and we see opportunities for growth. Azamara at present has a limited number of sailings which are doing well. We would like to add some sailings for Royal and or Celebrity for 2013.”

His Royal Caribbean colleague, Vice President John Tercek adds: “As we move forward, we are also keen to develop source markets for our products, with Greece and Turkey playing a leading role as operational hubs”.

Among the forum panelists there are a number of high level cruise industry decision makers that will provide useful input as to what is on the minds of the cruise lines regarding this region. Among them are Costakis Loizou, President Louis Cruises, Gianni Onorato, President Costa Crociere, Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co and Vice Chairman of European Cruise Council,  Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Port and Destination Development for industry leader Carnival Corp, Craig Milan, Senior Vice President Land Operations for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, John Tercek, Vice President Commercial and New Business Development for Royal Caribbean International, Linda Springmann, Vice President Worldwide Deployment and Tour Marketing for Holland America Line, Jennifer Marmarillo, Marketing Analyst & Itinerary Planning for Norwegian Cruise Line and Elisabetta de Nardo, Port Operations Manager for Costa Crociere.

On June 22nd, the second day of the Forum, the focus is on yachting and its economic potential, as well as coastal shipping, viewed from a purely tourism related angle. The latter is of particular interest to Greece, given its extensive archipelago destinations and the reliance of its tourism product on the quality and efficiency of its internal sea transportation. 

All the yachting sessions will be co-moderated by Colin Squire, Publisher Yachting Matters and Rosemary Pavlatou, Director A1 Yacht Trade Consortium. The sessions will cover commercial issues, legal and tax frameworks, infrastructure challenges, marina development and operation, and yachting support services.

The Forum’s co-moderator Rosemary Pavlatou comments: “It is no secret that Greece, like so many other countries, currently faces serious economic challenges. Yachting could constitute a part of the solution. Grave as the situation is at the moment, there are investors willing to develop infrastructure in the country and with her natural resources enhanced with good infrastructure and benevolent legislation, there is no reason why yachting in Greece cannot attract much larger numbers of the highest level of tourism, in the form of yacht charterers and private owners, seeking to enjoy the unique sailing experience that is Greece. They would make a significant difference to the economy of Greece as a whole, as well as a huge difference to local island economies. Encouraging yachting of all kinds, bringing visitors who are beyond doubt among the wealthiest visitors to Greece, should be a priority. How these goals should be attained constitutes the basis of the debate we shall have at this important forum.”

Among the speakers in the yachting sessions are leaders of the Greek and international yachting industry: Tony Rice, Secretary General ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations), Nick Maris, Chairman, Camper & Nicholsons Marinas International, George Vernicos, President of Vernicos Yachts and Secretary of SETE, Antonis Stelliatos, President Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association, Spiros Kiriacoulis, Vice President Kiriacoulis Mediterranean Services, Oliver Corlette, Managing Director Adriatic Marinas (Porto Montenegro), Oscar Siches, Partner & Manager Pantalan del Mediterraneo Marina, Consultant & Member of ICOMIA, Giannis Markoyiannis, Attorney - Giannis Markoyiannis & Associates Law Office, Stavros Katsikadis, President of Greek Marinas Association & Managing Director of Flisvos Marina, and John Turgoose, Senior Associate G.P. Wilde (International) Limited, Edward Pegan, Director of Sales & Marketing BWA Yachting and Stephanos Manos, Managing Director of MVS & Associates.

Theodore Vokos added: “The potential of the yachting industry in Greece is significant and it is one of the industries Greece should invest in to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs. Greece has both the expertise and potential to become the yachting hub for the East Med and the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum means to kick-start the discussion on how to capitalize on this potential.” He concluded: “Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region are blessed with some of the world’s most magnificent coastlines, rich in history and natural beauty. These are unique assets that we must seek to utilize in a professional and environmentally friendly way, in order to establish this region as an attractive destination for cruising and yachting – and benefit from the economic activity that these industries can generate. “

The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is organised under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries, the Greek National Tourism Organisation, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners’ Association and the Greek Marinas’ Association and is supported by the European Cruise Council and MedCruise. The Posidonia Forum is sponsored by the Piraeus Port Authority, RINA,, the Hard Rock Café Athens, the Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens, Louis Cruises and ELIN.

Source: Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum

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