European Union should focus on concrete measures to overcome the hurdles to cruise tourism’s growth if Europe is to retain its position as world’s number one tourism destination, the Euro branch of Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA Europe, said in a release.
Commenting on the inaugural conference of the EU’s Pan-European Dialogue between cruise operators, ports, and coastal tourism stakeholders during the European Shipping Week, Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe Chairman and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, outlined how the cruise industry has for some time pressed the case for a permanent, structured forum of discussion bringing together the cruise industry, ports, and regional/local tourism actors.
He also set out the priority challenges this platform should address, including the need to implement current environmental legislation in a harmonised way, streamline visa procedures, invest in coastal infrastructure, and improve port facilities.
CLIA Europe made the case for further changes at the EU level in order for cruise tourism to continue to increase its contribution to Europe’s economic recovery, particularly in coastal areas that have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn.
“The cruise industry is already an essential part of Europe’s economic recovery and, with more support from national and European regulators we could do much better. The launch of the Pan- European Dialogue is welcome evidence of change. But change must continue if Europe is to remain the world’s ‘number one’ tourism destination,” said Vago.