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Athens Hosts Global Cruise & Yachting Majors

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Athens Hosts Global Cruise & Yachting Majors

Annual over €1bn Cruise and Yachting Spend Boosts Region’s National Economies

Posidonia Exhibitions becomes CLIA Europe member

Over 200 Greek and international delegates and exhibitors from 25 countries and a prestigious line up of senior officials and key decision makers from the global cruising and yachting sectors will anchor in Athens at the end of this month for a series of debates on the prospects and challenges facing sea tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions.

They will be hosted by the organisers of the 2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum on May 28-29 and greeted by a strong contingent of senior Greek government officials eager to present the country’s sea tourism offering and competitive product advantages as Greece is vying to attract much needed foreign direct investment to boost its ailing economy.

Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, K. Moussouroulis, Minister of Tourism Olga Kefalogianni and Deputy Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks N. Mitarachi, the Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organisation P. Leivadas and the President of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund S. Stavridis  will set the pace of the Forum’s packed agenda which lists issues such as port and marina privatisation, infrastructure and future development and prospects of the cruise and yachting sectors in Greece and the synergies that can be derived by intraregional cooperation with neighbouring destinations. Joined by both cruise and yachting majors, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation, TUI Cruises, Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Louis Cruises, MYBA – The Worldwide Yachting Association, ICOMIA Marinas Group, Fraser Yachts Worldwide, D-Marin Marinas Group, MDL Marinas Group, The Superyacht Cup, French Riviera Ports Authority et.al. The conference is expected to stimulate a heated debate on how to increase Sea Tourism business in Greece and the region.

Left to right: Τheodore Vokos, Stavros Chatzakos, Anastasios Liaskos, Yiorgos Anomeritis, George Gratsos, Theodore Kontes, Antonis Stelliatos, Stavros Katsikadis

Left to right:Τheodore Vokos, Stavros Chatzakos, Anastasios Liaskos, Yiorgos Anomeritis, George Gratsos, Theodore Kontes, Antonis Stelliatos, Stavros Katsikadis

“With six million passengers per year the Mediterranean is the world’s second largest cruising region, as well as a preferred yachting destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world, making sea tourism an important economic growth vehicle for Greece and the entire region, ” said Theodore Vokos, Project Director of Posidonia Exhibitions.

“The Eastern part of the region, which includes Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and all the Black Sea countries, now attracts a third of the Med’s total cruise volume, bringing at least 2m visitors per year – or 9.2m port visits. In monetary terms each passenger port visit is worth an average € 99, with 80 per cent going to the wider local economy and 20 per cent to the port. This means that cruising alone directly benefits the local economies of East Med and Black Sea destinations with over one billion euro annually, including the spending of crew members, ” he added.

“Realistic projections on emerging market potential indicate that a 0.5% penetration of the Russian market alone would yield 700, 000 cruise passengers annually – or 3.2m port visits – a considerable addition to the current production of North American and European mature source markets” said Vokos.

George Koubenas, Senior General Manager Fleet Operations, Louis Cruises, added: “Cruising is the fastest growing tourism sector and with the Greek seas and Archipelago of stunning islands being the ideal area for cruising in the Eastern Mediterranean, and we look forward to exchanging ideas and having a constructive dialogue with regards to the industry’s immense potential for further growth. Such growth is crucial for the much needed restart of our national economy. After all, we at Louis Cruises, the only Hellenic cruise operator, have been working towards that noble cause for decades now and have been contributing in a tangible and substantial way in reinstating Greece to the position it deserves on the world cruising map. Louis Cruises is particularly pleased to participate in the Posidonia Sea Tourism conference, taking place for yet another time in its homeland. “

Potential revenues and economic benefits from the yachting sector are equally impressive.

Greece, with its endless coastline, thousands of islands and year round temperate climate, is an ideal destination for yachting, a sector that generates in Catalonia, for example, nine jobs for every one marina employee. “In Barcelona, for every 100 berths the local economy generates 4.4 workers in marinas and 40 workers in other sectors, ” said Mr Oscar Siches, Partner and Manager, of Pantalan del Mediterraneo and Moll Vell marinas in Mallorca and member of ICOMIA Marinas Group, who will be moderating the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum’s yachting sessions. “A study made by the Spanish Marina Federation FEAPDT shows that a yachting tourist who spends €100 in a Catalonian marina also spends 450 more Euros in the local economy, ” he added. “It is interesting to note that a normal tourist spends €59.50 per day in the Balearics, while a nautical tourist spends €111.50 per day. The importance of marinas should be added to this discussion, as their positive impact can be quantified: every €1 of foreign direct investment generates €1.5 in direct annual business and €6.84 in indirect economic activity.”

“With a total output to the European economy reaching the Euro 37 billion mark, sea tourism is by any standards very big business for both operators and destinations. The 2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is designed to serve as a catalyst that will promote a fruitful dialogue between industry leaders and policy makers on a wide range of issues that impact on sea tourism’s growth potential in the greater region” Vokos added. “Especially when considering cruising, one must realize that this industry’s growth potential is vast. It is worth mentioning that in the US alone, cruising represents a mere 3% market penetration.”

“It’s worth pointing out that a total of six new ships will be added in 2013 with a total passenger capacity of 14, 074 lower berths. From 2014 to 2015, a net of 13 more new cruise ships will come online adding another 39, 297 lower berths, or 8.7% to passenger capacity. The ships from 2014 to 2015 will add $3.2 billion in annual revenue to the cruise industry and part of that is destined to our shores, ” said Vokos.

The Forum has been embraced by 30 regional destinations that have booked a stand at the event’s exhibition to showcase their offering in front of a global audience of cruise and yachting operators. A dedicated schedule of B2B meetings for representatives of ports and destinations has been booked with officials from Paul Gauguin Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Louis Cruises and Windstar Cruises.

The Forum has also received official endorsement from CLIA Europe, which welcomed Posidonia Exhibitions as a member and has identified the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum as the best platform to strengthen cruising in the region.

The 2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum thanks the following sponsors for their support: Gold Sponsors Greek National Tourism Organisation & Samsung Electronics Hellas, Silver Sponsor Piraeus Port Authority and Sponsors RINA, Louis Cruises, Dubai Maritime City Authority and MVS Associates.

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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