CLIA Europe Zeros in on Sustainable Cruising
CLIA Europe organized a very interesting panel on Sustainable Tourism in Greece, in the context of the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2019, conveying a main message about the economic contribution of cruising not being enough to empower local communities, in the sense that a place should be good for its residents, in order to be good for its guests as well.
The importance of collaboration among cruise companies, regulators, ports and destinations towards the achievement of sustainable growth in the cruise industry was discussed yesterday by representatives of cruise, port and destination companies at an impactful panel that was organized by the Cruise Lines International Association Europe (CLIA Europe), during the first day of the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2019.
The CLIA Europe participation in the Forum was opened by Mr. Tom Boardley, Secretary General, CLIA Europe, who described the emerging trends likely to shape the future of the cruise industry globally and spoke about the deployment of cruising with the Mediterranean to represent 17.3 percent and second rank just behind the Caribbean, which ranks first with 34.4 percent.
He also stressed that a place that’s not good for its residents, isn’t good for its guests as well.Along the lines of this statement, CLIA Europe organized a panel, with the title "Partnership for Sustainable Tourism: Ships, Ports and Destinations", where the Association was represented by Maria Deligianni, Government and Public Affairs Representative Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA Europe, who presented data about the Greek cruise industry and its course in the recent years, as well as CLIA’s strategy to preserve the sustainable development of cruise destinations in order to ensure a pleasant experience for cruise passengers, always with respect to the local communities of the destinations.
In specific, Mrs. Deligianni confirmed that more than 30 million people worldwide are expected to cruise in 2019, an increase of 5 percent compared to 2018, indicating that the world's most popular destinations are going to receive a huge volume of travelers; however, she stressed that the economic contribution from cruising is not enough to empower local communities, as it is very important for their residents to feel good in order to offer positive experiences to travelers and thus to boost the development of local businesses.
The cruise sector may only represent 2 percent of the total tourism industry, but the need for strategic partnerships that will enhance the sustainability of both the cruise and the destinations is vital. Therefore, collaboration among international organizations, companies and destinations around the world is mandatory to ensure that cruising continues to be beneficial for both travelers and residents of the local communities at the ports of call.
To substantiate her arguments, Mrs. Deligianni presented a Case Study for one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet: the Greek island of Santorini.
Only in 2018, the island hosted more than 2.6 million visitors, which is 170 times the number of the local population. However, statistical analysis shows that cruising is not the main source of visitors arriving for a day on the island compared to those who visit it by ferries and by air, so the solutions and interventions should involve a holistic approach and various stakeholders.
In this context, CLIA created a multi-level strategy to manage the volume of visitors in the island, while creating pleasant conditions for its residents. Initially, CLIA discussed with the competent bodies the implementation of the berth allocation system for cruise ships in Santorini, in order to manage the arrival of cruise ships and their passengers, which could enhance the sustainability of the destinations if applied correctly and in a transparent manner.
At the same time, CLIA met with the Mayor of Santorini, Mr. Nikos Zorzos and local stakeholders to listen to the needs of the local community, while CLIA launched the online social media campaign "wearecruise", to promote the direct positive impact that the cruise industry has at the local communities.
CLIA then created an online campaign for the protection of animals used for transportation in Santorini, such as the “donkeys”, aiming to raise awareness among the people visiting the island to choose the companies that abide with the regulations and the conditions of safe animal treatment.
In addition, in collaboration with local authorities, CLIA sought after new destinations and points on the island, such as the archaeological sites of Akrotiri, aiming at the relief of other overcrowded areas of Santorini, while also attended international functions, such as the ITB in Berlin, in order to discuss the challenges and the difficulties that this area is facing.
Mrs. Deligianni stressed the importance of collaboration towards the creation of an environment that fosters sustainable development for cruise destinations and the need to develop specialized sustainability programs for each destination, based on its features and peculiarities.
Source: Tornos News