Cruising executives attended to discuss the future of the industry in the East Mediterranean (Image: Posidonia exhibitions)
A record number of people attended the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Greece this spring, where they heard about new ship deployment commitments from Disney Cruise Line and MSC Cruises that promise growth for the East Mediterranean.
Over 830 participants, 35 exhibitors from sea tourism and Greek maritime ministers, port authority executives and cruise line decision makers attended the event to discuss the state of the cruise and yachting sectors in the East Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.
“We are delighted with the positive response the forum has received since making its debut in the international sea tourism agenda in 2011, and we are confident that it will continue to steer developments in the sector for years to come,” said Theodore Vokos, managing director of Posidonia Exhibitions, the event organiser.
Speaking at the event, Paul Britton, manager of Marine Operations, Ports and Itinerary Planning at Disney Cruise Line, revealed that the cruise brand will return to Greece this summer. The ship will call at Piraeus, Santorini, Mykonos and Katakolo and offer 12-night itineraries connecting Aegean ports with Venice, Italy and the Adriatic.
MSC Cruises also promoted its increasing presence in the Eastern Mediterranean at the event, announcing that an additional ship will be based in the region in 2019 and increase its capacity by 26%. A sixth vessel will be deployed in 2020.
“As we are always looking for alternative solutions for embarkation in the Eastern Mediterranean, it was great to meet key players of the industry and the region in the Forum and examine possibilities of new collaborations and opportunities,” said Angelo Capurro, executive director of MSC Cruises. “We are looking at the overall plans of MSC around the world until 2026, also in the number of ships that will come, so for us it is important to understand if there is a possibility to have embarkation or use partner-embarkation in this part of the East Med.”
According to Thanasis Theocharopoulos, the Greek Minister of Tourism, the extra capacity from these cruise lines will boost Greece’s cruise passenger numbers by 7% this season.