Opened by the President of the Regional Government of Madeira Alberto Joao Jardim, and attended by the Regional Minister of Culture Tourism and Transports Conceicao Almeida Estudiante, the General Assembly and the parallel events were successfully hosted by the Port of Madeira, with participants and guests having the opportunity to follow the recent positive developments in the cruise ports of the region.
Discussions during the two days-event focused on the several challenges of cruise port management, including accommodation of more traffic, new itineraries, new practices, infrastructure and services demands, programming, but also cancellations.
Highlights of the lively two-days event included lively round-tables on how they approach the several implications of the berth allocation schemes and the way cruise-lines approach developments in cruise ports. Guest speakers included, Vassilios Gazikas, Louis Cruises, Nathalie Oelmann and Thomas Rucht, TUI, Justin Poulsen, Holland America; Eduardo Lopez-Puertas, Pullmantur and Adam Sharp, Royal Caribbean.
The MedCruise General Assembly offered to participating members the opportunity to discuss two newly published reports, the MedCruise Statistics 2013 report, that is the fourth edition of the statistics of the association’s members, and the MedCruise Cruise Ports Benchmarking study. The final day participants enjoyed B2B meetings with cruise lines.
Emphasis during round-table discussions was given on the fact that ports in the Med have to adapt speedily, so as to respond to the deployment trends. Market trends suggest that they did so successfully up to now, responding to the challenge, adapting operational practices and updating infrastructures and services required, leading MedCruise members to conclude that the emphasis now is to act as a catalyst to foster further cooperation among the ports of Mediterranean for the sustainable growth of the region as a whole
Discussing the way forward, participants decided on a number of activities for the coming months, including a strategy for promoting MedCruise ports-destinations in new source markets including China.
As MedCruise President Stavros Hatzakos told reporters during the post-event press conference:
“All port-members participating in our association recognize the need to collectively promote their efforts to host modern cruise. They also acknowledge the need to provide common responses that effectively serve the market, and search for solutions to existing problems.
When the pluralism and the growing number of associations around the globe produces some unease, MedCruise inclusive membership, and the active participation of a growing number of ports in collective activities, provides to the basis to speak as an authoritative association. Our GA confirmed the commitment for MedCruise to be the one-stop hub for all those wanted to learn about and engage with Med ports“.
The General Assembly also welcomed a new member, the port of Huelva, increasing MedCruise members to 72 members plus 30 associate members, and well over 100 cruise ports in the Mediterranean region, the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Near Atlantic.
The 43d MedCruise General Assembly will be held in Alanya, Turkey 13-15 November 2013.