The 6th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2021 gets under way on May 25 with the chief executives of some of the world’s biggest cruise lines participating in the first virtual panel discussion.
Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises, Michael Thamm, CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, and Chris Theophilides, CEO of Celestyal Cruises, will share the screen for the day’s first session titled “The Restart of Cruising in Europe and the Mediterranean.”
Each will share their company’s initiatives for post-pandemic cruising, their own vision for the restart and the measures and protocols each cruise line is implementing for the interim period. They will also discuss the reasons for the industry’s strong backing of the East Med as this year’s cruise hotspot, the region that in 2021 will host the highest number of cruise deployments in Europe.
Aida, Celebrity, Costa, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea and TUI along with Celestyal Cruises will be running considerable East Mediterranean summer programs this season. The port of Piraeus will be the homeport for vessels from Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Celestyal Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Celebrity has chosen Greece’s biggest port for the commercial global debut of its newest vessel, the Celebrity Apex. Greece’s Corfu and Iraklio, Limassol in Cyprus and Israel’s Haifa are ports that also feature strongly in the lines’ homeporting schedules.
“After all the geopolitical problems that hampered the East Mediterranean’s cruise development in recent years, the industry is now choosing the region as a main theater for its successful restart in Europe,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, global chairman of CLIA and executive chairman of MSC Cruises, who will keynote the event with his opening remarks about the state of the industry.
Other sessions during the one-day event will discuss the impact on shore excursions, destination management and delivery under the new health protocols, the environmental challenges ahead and the impact of Covid-19 on port operation and development. The outlook for the 2021 season for cruising in Greece will be exclusively discussed in a dedicated session as the country banks on international visitor arrivals to revive its economy.