ECONOMY

Cruise industry to expand further

Cruise ships’ growth rates may have fallen below expectations in 2004 due to a lack of available ships, but the cruise market has globally recorded a 10 percent annual rise over the past decade. In 2004, 2.8 million Europeans paid for cruises, 70 percent of which were made in European waters. Speaking at the recent Seatrade Europe 2005 conference, where the data were presented, the chairman of the European Cruise Council, Pier Luigi Foschi of Costa Cruise Lines, noted that the European cruiser market can expect a bright future and aspires to close the gap with the North American cruise ship market. The conference also heard that the cruise industry is facing a series of challenges on various issues, including gas emission and the availability of fuel with low sulfur quantities as well as passenger safety, and to what extent insurance companies are able to cover the rising cost of compensation in case of terrorist attacks. Taxation of cruisers and its different approaches by states, and the need for a universally accepted definition of «seaman» in the context of the International Labor Organization (ILO) are other burning issues for the sector. David Dingle, managing director of Carnival UK, argued that cruise companies are now more determined to form their own price policies, which are more often led by supply than demand. Measures A working group of Greece’s National Tourism Council has completed the task of proposing a series of measures to better promote sea tourism. It has found that priority must be given to full cabotage liberalization for non-EU cruisers, too, promotion campaigns by the Greek National Tourism Organization and other bodies, and expansion of the tourism season through incentives to travel corporations. The council also proposed that the Safe Manning regulations of the International Maritime Organization be put into law, that repair facilities be upgraded and that multiple-entry visa for foreigners be issued for port entries and exits.