EU leaders and representatives from the cruise industry will meet during a high-level meeting, on 1 March, to debate destination management in cruise tourism and ways forward to boost the sector’s sustainability. The event will be hosted by the European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, in charge of issues related to the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
The occasion will gather high-level speakers from the Commission, the European Parliament, Cruise Lines International Association, the European Sea Ports Association, the European Travel Commission and other cruise tourism stakeholders.
1. Sustainable cruise tourism
For the Mediterranean region in particular, cruise ship tourism represents a blessing and a curse. The ships bring substantial economic advantages to their ports of call and surrounding areas. However, the huge number of passengers they carry can wreak havoc on the towns, overwhelming their transportation systems and overrunning the quaint neighbourhoods many residents call home.
The aim of 2nd Pan-European Cruise Dialogue is to build on the achievements of previous cruise dialogues, organised by the Commission since 2015, and to discuss sustainable cruise tourism for the years to come. Speakers will primarily focus on the eco-system of cruise tourism, including its economic, environmental and social sustainability, its governance structures, and the respect for local cultures.
On top of that, leaders from the cruise sector hope to identify good practices that will help leverage partnerships of cruise tourism stakeholders, and to amplify joint efforts. Concretely, challenges of cruise destination management play a crucial role in this context.
2. Coastal and Maritime Strategy
The Commission’s Coastal and Maritime Strategy, launched in 2014, highlights opportunities for cruise tourism by providing a platform for dialogue between the major cruise industry players, local tourism operators, local authorities and ports. As a result, the Commission organised the first pan-European cruise dialogue in Brussels, which took place on 5-6 March 2015.