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Sea tourism growth: potential major asset for Greek economy say sector experts

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Photo_Posidonia Sea Tourim Forum2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum attracts strong international interest

The Greek cruising and yachting sectors have the combined potential to create more than 40, 000 new jobs, according to a recent study undertaken by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping. The full roll out of the home-porting policy for cruise lines alone can add to the Greek economy annual revenues in excess of Euro 1 billion.

 On a European level this is well illustrated in the words of MSC Cruises’ CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, Vice-Chairman of the European Cruise Council and speaker at the 1st Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, “We keep repeating the impressive numbers of the economic impact in 2011 alone: €36.7 billion worth of goods and services generated; over 6 million passengers; €3.5 billion spent by passengers and crew during visits to the 250 port cities that welcome cruise ships year-round. And last, but certainly not least, more than 315, 000 jobs created across Europe: which, considering the eye-watering levels of unemployment in other sectors, is quite a remarkable result.”

The special interest for cruising and its growth potential in our region is further evidenced by the arrival of new brands in the region, including FTI Cruises in 2012, Disney Cruises and Paul Gauguin Cruises in 2013 as well as the new ships coming online this year for operation in the Mediterranean.

“Greece’s unique 16, 000 km coastline, the country’s 1, 200 islands and 4, 800 islets as well as the mild climate are nature’s gifts to Greece, yet the vast potential of these treasures and their contribution to the national economy remains largely untapped due to the absence of a strategic framework to attract investments conducive to the development of a quality and holistic sea tourism product. But this seems to be changing now, ” said Theodore Vokos, Project Director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., the event’s organisers.

The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, which will be held in Athens on May 28-29, has already attracted strong interest from major international cruise and yachting companies. They will vie for the attention of the industry’s regional decision makers who will converge to the Greek capital for two days of discussions and debates on the sector’s growth challenge for Greece, Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Major cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC, Silversea, Costa Crociere, Celebrity Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises and Louis Cruises have already committed their presence at the event which additionally has the support of CLIA – Europe and MedCruise.

A new feature of this year’s Forum will be an Exhibition designed to enable industry suppliers to showcase their services and products. Exhibitors include ports, destinations, hotels, airlines, tourist service providers, technical support companies, sector publishers, new technologies, yacht managers and brokers, yacht interiors specialists and marinas.

Senior industry officials agree that initiatives such as the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum can help attract attention to the region’s sea tourism industry and that the arrival of major international and regional marina developers and operators Camper & Nicholsons Marinas and D-Marine Investments Holding with investments in Greek marinas are indications of a more robust future.

According to George Gratsos, President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, “Yachting already creates 40, 000 direct and indirect jobs for the Greek economy. A friendlier business environment and the development of new marinas with a capacity for 10, 000 more yachts than hosted at present would create an additional 30, 000 jobs. “

“The recent spate of foreign direct investment in Greek marinas can be the catalyst for more transactional activity in the near future which can resuscitate the Greek yachting sector, thereby reviving a dormant market full of potential and promise, ” said Theodore Vokos, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A.

The organisers of the event are upbeat about its contribution to the sectors’ long-term prospects: “As a result of the lively debate that took place in the first Forum, a number of high profile policy changes were announced by the Greek Government including the new legal framework for cruise vessel home porting with the lifting of cabotage restrictions and investment incentives which helped funnel foreign funds into Greek yachting infrastructure projects, ” said Vokos.

Of vital importance for Greece to be successful in its quest to further develop all forms of sea tourism is the parallel development of the sector in Turkey, the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean in general. It is the greater region’s importance for the global tourism industry that will ensure long term and sustainable growth in the future. Strong international interest has already been expressed both for the conference and the exhibition.

The 2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is organised under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the Greek Ministry of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, CLIA – Europe, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), the Association of Passenger Shipping Companies, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MEDCRUISE), the Hellenic Ports’ Association (ELIME), the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners’ Association, the Greek Marinas’ Association, the Union of Greek Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members, the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA) and the Hellenic Yacht Brokers’ Association.


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