Online – 20th of September 2022

AIVP and MedCruise hosted together on the 20th of September the 5th meeting of the shared Working Group focusing on cruises and port cities. The topic of this session was community building, key issue for a sustainable interaction between cruises, port cities and its citizens. The Working Group was launched by AIVP and MedCruise in 2021 gathering 25 members from both organizations to exchange good practices and debate new policies and solutions relevant for the cruise sector aimed at reducing their impact in port cities and finding a balance relationship.
The meeting was chaired by Silvia Coppolino (Member of the MedCruise BoD) and José M P Sánchez (Director of the AIVP Agenda 2030). The moderation was done by by José Sánchez and Aimilia Papachristou, General Secretary of MedCruise. The session counted with interventions from: participants learnt from the experiences shared by:
• Welcome Speech by Mr. Lorenzo Vera, Vice President and Director of Destination Development of MedCruise and Manager Motril Port Granada, Spain
• Ms. Natalie Allaby, Cruise Development Manager, Port Saint John, Canada
• Ms. Hortensia Sánchez, Cruise Manager, Cartagena, Spain

In his welcome speech, Mr. Vera highlighted three key areas for healthy port-city relationships and sustainable destination development:

  1. Do not forget that the crew as a key part of the community, they need to be respected and cherished
  2. Consider the complete destination ecosystem, looking beyond the city boundaries
  3. Work towards sustainable products and solutions embracing all aspects of sustainable development and green tourism.

Further on, Mr Vera’s speech also highlighted important concepts for community building in cruise cities, such as the need for honest interactions and considering the real capacity of the destinations in order to preserve fragile human ecosystems.

Ms. Allaby intervention focused on two main projects the community liaison committee and the crew lounge. The Committee was launched by the Port of Saint John during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the local community inform on the development of the situation and the keep an ongoing dialogue with the citizens and business affected by the stop of the cruise sector. The Crew Lounge is a new space destined to welcome ship workers, allowing them to take a break and having some privacy. This lounge is also part of the Container Village, another project from the Port of Saint John, animating the waterfront.

Ms. Hortensia Sanchez presented the Plaza Mayor project, a key intervention to structure the port-city relationship in Cartagena. This is the first of five phases in the redevelopment of Plaza Mayor, in which the port will invest nearly €28 million in five key areas. The project will showcase the area’s historic heritage, install efficient lighting, create rest areas, create new hotel facilities, and expand the cultural, and sports offering. One of the main goal is to improve the connection of the citizens with the water and facilitate the access to the sea.

The following meeting will take place in November 2022. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the first cruise season after covid-19, what are the lessons learnt and what has changed in the port-city-cruises interactions.