Cruise industry leaders converge at Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum to discuss industry’s challenges and potential


The 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will bring together top executives and industry leaders from the international cruise sector to discuss the challenges and potential of the industry and highlight the importance of the Southeast Mediterranean region and the need for new destinations to keep pace with the industry’s rapid growth and emerging trends.

To be held on 25-26 April in Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Palace Hotel, the biennial event comes at a time when the cruise industry is looking to fully recover from the pandemic and chart a path towards a sustainable future.

The high-ranking participation of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) at the event is testament to the importance of the region and the need for new destinations and markets to emerge.

The forum is set to feature a high-profile line-up of speakers and the keynote speech will be delivered by Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Global Chair and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.

Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, who has also confirmed her presence at the event, emphasized the importance of sustainable cruising and integrated planning. “Cruising is a sustainable mode of travel, and together with the ports and destinations, we will continue to develop while taking everyone’s interests into account – through integrated planning and better management of guest flows.”

The speakers will focus on a number of key issues including destination delivery, the development and upgrade of port and tourism infrastructure to encourage and enable growth, the need to properly assess the economic benefit and environmental impact for a given destination and the capacity for shore-side electric power-connectivity, amongst others. They will also discuss the challenges of berth reservation and assignment, particularly in marquee ports with limited berthing ability.

With a line-up of top industry executives, the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is poised to generate significant interest and provide valuable insights for all participants. The event promises to be an opportunity for the cruise industry to come together and find solutions for the challenges facing the sector.

Chris Theophilides, CEO of Celestyal Cruises, commented: “We are delighted to participate in this year’s Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, particularly as it takes place in our homeport of Thessaloniki, an up-and-coming city that has plenty to offer visitors in the way of history, culture and unrivalled gastronomy. As Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean are our home, we look forward to constructive dialogue between the authorities and cruise companies to ensure sustainable development within the area which will benefit both the national and the local economy.”

CLIA Europe highlights the importance of the event as it is organising a session titled ‘Pathways to Net Zero’ to offer practical examples of implementation and a guide through the maze to net zero. The session will cover topics ranging from decarbonisation, port infrastructure, and safety requirements to the Poseidon Principles.

The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will also host the ‘YES to SEApping Forum 2023’ to reach out to the younger generation in Thessaloniki. The forum aims to inform young people about the evolving Blue Economy by covering both the shipping and sea tourism industries.

Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions SA, said: “The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is an important event that brings together industry leaders and offers a platform for them to share their insights on the challenges and potential of the industry. We are thrilled to have CLIA Europe organise a session at the event, and we are excited to see the younger generation engage in the ‘YES to SEApping Forum 2023’. This year’s event promises to be one of the most significant events of the year for the cruise industry.”

The 2023 PSTF is sponsored by Diamond Sponsor Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A., Silver Sponsor Piraeus Port Authority SA, Bronze Sponsors Celestyal Cruises, Global Ports Holding, Heraklion Port Authority SA, Kyvernitis Travel and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation. The official airline is SKY express. It is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and the Ministry of Tourism and supported by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) and the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members.