Forum on Economic Impacts of the Cruise Industry

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«Economic Impacts of the Cruise Industry on Coastal, Insular and River Destinations»

Ancient Olympia, Greece, Conference Center of Ephorate of Antiquities of Ancient Olympia ( SPAP), Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

 A Forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Ilia on the occasion of the European Maritime Day,in cooperation with the Network of Insular Chambers of the EU (INSULEUR),under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure, Maritime Affairs and Tourism and the Union of Hellenic Chambers

With the special collaboration of the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the support of the Forum of Ionian –Adriatic Chambers of commerce (AIC Forum);  the Danube Chambers of Commerce Association (DCCA); the Greek Tourism Organisation; the Katakolon Port Authority;the Kyllini Port Authority; the Association of Greek Insular Chambers (EOAEN); the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN); the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, ESPON2013 Contact Point and the Research in Shipping and Ports Laboratory of the University of the Aegean (RE.SHI.P)

Following a Public Hearing, organized by the Network of Insular Chambers of the EU (INSULEUR) within the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, on May 2014, on the Commission Communication "A European Strategy for maritime and coastal tourism", INSULEUR proposed the organization of a Forum  on the “Impacts of the cruise economy in coastal and island (and river) destinations". The Forum was hosted by the Chamber of Ilia at Ancient Olympia, Greece, on the 23rd of May 2015 with the special collaboration of ASCAME and the support of the Association of Greek Insular Chambers (EOAEN), the Forum AIC (Chambers of Ionian-Adriatic), the Danube Chamber of commerce Association, the University of the Aegean (RE.SHI.P) and the European Small Islands Federation (ESIF). The Forum is approved by the European Commission as a parallel event of the European Maritime Day 2015. Experts from different insular or coastal regions (Chambers, destination  management organizations, local authorities, universities and research centres, etc.) will be invited to participate.The Forum  explored possibilities and conditions presented on coastal, insular and river destinations for business and examined the methods, means and procedures for the effective participation of insular and coastal businesses to promote this thematic tourism industry by offering new products and services. It also examined international best practices, current tools, training, etc. The findings will help the Chambers and other local agencies and existing or potential businesses to meet the modern needs of the industry and benefit by it.

The cruise has implications in several companies of tourist destinations, such as transportation (taxi, bus, car rental), travel agents, hotels, museums, attractions, arts, events, shops, restaurants, cooperatives that produce regional specialities products etc. This activity can be a source of income for tourist destinations. In its recent Communication on coastal and marine tourism, the European Commission made explicit reference to islands and remote areas, and recognized opportunities despite their inherent geographical handicaps.

The European Commission recognized hight ransport costs problems, seasonality and accessibility to continental Europe affecting the attractiveness for visitors and employees.The Commission considered that these areas should be developed, since they offer job opportunities, since some other activities are deficient.The cruise industry has grown worldwide by 10% per year over the last thirty years.The activityis mainly located in some parts of the world such as the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Mexico and Panama and  in Alaska. Apart from the Caribbean, in all other areas of cruise tourism is seasonalCruise may help to boost the economies of the islands and coastal areas, since new actions should be undertaken to this direction,facilitating business by creating infrastructures to attract shore excursions.

The workshop contributed to the dialogue among all stakeholders to this industry. It  explored possibilities and benefits offered to businesses of coastal and island destinations of the cruise, given the growing demand, and examined methods, ways and procedures for the effective participation of insular and coastal businesses to promote this thematic tourism industryIt  also explored possibilities of providing new services and creating new products from the insular, riparian and coastal businesses toparticipate inthe economic benefits derivedfrom this industry.Best practices at international level, current tools, trainings etc were examined, to assist Chambers and other local economic operators and hence the existing or potential businesses to meet the modern needs of the industry. The challenge is to achieve an equitable distribution of economic benefits from the cruise to the interested stakeholders.Studies have shown that the benefits are concentrated  mainly in countries that sell beds for cruise ships but also host the offices of companies offering a range of services to them.

Some people suggest that this type of tourism has negative impacts on local tourism economies, environment and generally healthy and sustainable tourism development, particularly in terms of carrying capacity of many small and medium-sized islands. A research conducted by the University of the Aegean on this issue was presented. INSULEUR is in direct contact and dialogue with researchers.The cruise industry is a potential generator of wealth for the destination port. However, the reception of large cruise ships at the ports requires very high investments and maintenance costs. This may have a negative impact on local economies.

It is also important to consider, particularly for the islands, the problem of tourism expenditure in relation to importsand foodproducts and to examine the social impactof cruise tourists occupying the same geographical area as the local population during the same hours in the day (especially late morning until late afternoon). Environmental and cultural impacts can be significant, particularly noticeable on the islands. Finally, the symposium  also considered whether it is necessary to create Tourism Destination Management Organizations on the islandsorin coastal areas.The tourist destinations are able to cooperate with the cruise companies in the development path of the cruise.The most important prerequisites for the development of this course and the choice of destination are: 1. The capacity to accommodate cruise ships safely, 2. The attractiveness of the destination and its uniqueness,3. The support of the local population.4. The provision of accessibility and high quality services to meet passengers and to bring them to local attractions.


Friday, 22nd of May 2015. Arrival of Participants

20.30  Reception cocktail - Dinner at Katakolon Port

Saturday 23rd of May 2015

08.30 - 09.00      Registration of participants

09.00 - 09.30      Opening Session

-       Mr. Konstantinos Nikoloutsos, President, Chamber of Ilia

-       Mr. George Benetos, President, INSULEUR, President, Professional Chamber of Piraeus

-       Mrs.  Ezgi B. Uçar, Vice-Secretary General of the Mersin Chamber and SG of the ASCAME Logistics and Tourism Commission

-       Mr. Rodolfo Giampieri, President, Forum AIC

-       Mr. Ervin Kiss, Secretary General, Danube Chambers of Commerce Association

-       Mr. Thrasos Kalogridis, President, Association of Greek Insular Chambers (EOAEN)

-       Mr. Leonidas Varouxis, President, Port Authority of Katakolon

-       Mrs. Elena Kountoura, Greek Deputy Minister for Tourism

09.30 - 11.00      FIRST PANNEL. The European Framework: Cruise Industry and the European Strategy for Coastal and Maritime Tourism

Moderator: Dr. Stella Kyvelou, Professor, Pantion University, ESPON contact point

-       Mrs. Elissavet Vozemberg, MEP-EPP Group, Member-Transport and Tourism Committee, European Parliament

-       Mr. Franz Lamplmair, European Commission (DG MARE)

-       Mr. Konstandinos Moussouroulis, European Commission, (DG GROWTH)

-       Mrs. Anna-Maria Darmanin (tbc) European Economic and Social Committee


11.00 - 11.30      Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00     SECOND PANNEL: What does the Cruise Industry expect from local SMEs?

Moderator: John B Richardson, Fipra International

Mr. Marco Digioia, The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe

-       Mr. Aimilia A. Papachristou, MED CRUISE

-       Mr. Virgil Stan, Cruise Manager, Danubius Travel

-       Mr. Dionisios Trambadoros, Port Authority of Katakolon

-       Mr. Nabil Josef Morad, President, Port Authority of Kyllini


13.00 -14.30       Light lunch

14.30 - 17.00      THIRD PANNEL. What do local businesses expect from the cruise industry?

Moderator:- Mrs.  Ezgi B. Uçar, Vice-Secretary General of the Mersin Chamber and SG of the ASCAME L&T Commission

-       Mr. Rodolfo Giampieri, President, Forum AIC

-      Ms. Ágnes Dobrotka, Project coordinator, Danube Chambers of Commerce 

-      Mr. Nikos Zarokostas, President, Traders Association of Ancient Olympia

-       Mrs. Anna Vassilakis, Association of licensed guides of Western Greece

-       Ms Evi Stefanidaki, Reasearcher, University of the Aegean

-        Mr.Eleftherios Kechagioglou, President, Hellenic Small Islands Network, Board Member of the European Small Islands Federation


Rapporteur: Mrs Silvia Delgado, Member, Technical Committee of INSULEUR, Director of European Relations, Mallorca Chamber of Commerce

***Interpretation was assured from/to Greek/English/Italian

17.00  CONCLUSIONS. Kostas Nikoloutsos, President, Chamber of Ilia

20.30 Gala dinner at Ancient Olympia

Sunday, 24th of May morning.  Social Event: excursion at Mercouri Farm Winery, Wine test-light lunch