Focus should be on concrete measures to overcome together hurdles to tourism industry’s growth if Europe is to retain position as world’s ‘number one’ tourism destination
Brussels, 5 March 2015 – CLIA Europe, the association representing Europe’s multi-billion euro cruise industry which employs almost 340, 000 people in Europe, warmly welcomes today’s inaugural conference of the EU’s Pan-European Dialogue between cruise operators, ports, and coastal tourism stakeholders. CLIA Europe has also stressed that the focus should be on concrete measures to overcome the hurdles to cruise tourism’s growth if Europe is to retain its position as world’s number one tourism destination.
Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe Chairman and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, outlined how the cruise industry has for some time pressed the case for a permanent, structured forum of discussion bringing together the cruise industry, ports, and regional/local tourism actors.
He said: “Today, I would like to congratulate the European Commission for making the pan-European Dialogue a reality. This important milestone will help foster contact and cooperation between stakeholders and show how we can work together on challenges and opportunities.”
Mr Vago made the case for further changes at the EU level in order for cruise tourism to continue to increase its contribution to Europe’s economic recovery, particularly in coastal areas that have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn.
“The cruise industry is already an essential part of Europe’s economic recovery and, with more support from national and European regulators we could do much better. The launch of the Pan-European Dialogue is welcome evidence of change. But change must continue if Europe is to remain the world’s ‘number one’ tourism destination.”
Mr Vago also set out the priority challenges this platform should address, including the need to implement current environmental legislation in a harmonised way, streamline visa procedures, invest in coastal infrastructure, and improve port facilities.
Mr Vago concluded: “The European Commission has provided us with a framework within which we can now all work together to address these and other challenges as well as to maximise opportunities. However, the success of this Platform will ultimately be judged by the outcomes that it produces, in terms of concrete steps to overcome these hurdles to growth.”
1. About the Conference and the Pan-European Dialogue
The Conference is held on 5 and 6 March 2015 in Brussels and addressed by Mr Karmenu Vella – EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska – EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Ms Gesine Meissner – Member of the European Parliament and ALDE Group Coordinator in the EP TRAN Committee). According to the Commission “In 2012, European ports had 29.3 million passenger visits, a 75% increase over 2006. These arrivals generate wealth and business opportunities but also represent big challenges for the receiving ports. For coastal regions it is not always easy to capture economic benefits generated by cruise tourism, while pressures to invest in port infrastructures and to preserve the environment are increasing. That is why the Commission proposes promoting a pan-European dialogue between cruise operators, ports and coastal tourism stakeholders.”
2. About CLIA
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines, travel agents, port authorities and destinations, and various industry business partners before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA’s Associate Member and Executive Partner programs include the industry’s leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org. For more information on CLIA Europe, visit www.cliaeurope.eu. CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association’s Facebook and Twitter fan pages.