AIVP and MedCruise hosted together on the 12th of December the 6th meeting of the common Working Group focusing on cruises and port cities. This 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 Noemi Frascella, on behalf of Ms. Silvia Coppolino (Member of the MedCruise BoD), Aimilia Papachristou, General Secretary of MedCruise and José M P Sánchez (Director of the AIVP Agenda 2030), who was also in charge of the moderation. This meeting was also special as it was the last time Ms. Papachristou would act as in the Working Group as General Secretary of MedCruise. Starting on January 1st her position will be filled by Mr. Nicky Guerrero. The session counted with interventions from:
- Mr. Stephan Rousseau. Assistant to the Director – In charge of maritime safety at the Interregional Direction of the Mediterranean Sea. Secretary of State for the Seas, French Government.
- Ms. Marie-Caroline Laurent, Director General. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe.
- Ms. Laurence Bouchardie. Cruise Bordeaux Manager Bordeaux Port – Chief of Staff and Head of Communication. Port of Bordeaux, France.
- Ms. Mª. Del Mar Perez. Head of the Cruise Division. Port of Barcelona, Spain.
- Ms. Jelka Tepšić. Deputy Mayor City of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Mr. Stephan Rousseau presented the Charter on Sustainable Cruising in the French Mediterranean. This sustainable Cruise Charter, with 13 commitments for cruise companies sailing in Mediterranean waters under French jurisdiction, is aimed at improving cruise acceptability and sustainability. Habitats protection, species protection, waste reduction and recycling, reducing engine’s emissions and raising citizen awareness are the five pillars of this document, signed by numerous stakeholders of the sector such as Carnival Corporation, MSC, Ponant or the Royal Caribbean Group.
Ms. Marie-Caroline Laurent focused on CLIA’s Priorities in Europe in 2022, namely, Leading the decarbonization of the maritime sector in Europe and Sailing to a better future. At European level, within the framework of the first priority, the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities was dealt with, as well as the European Renewable Low Carbon Fuel Alliance, leading CLIA, as the voice of the sector, to stress the need for a structured messaging on sustainability. As for the second priority, the work of the Association focused on Cruise restart in the post pandemic context and mitigating the impact of new regulations on cruise operations, while structuring cooperation with destinations remained on the line thanks to several agreements, collaborations and studies.
Ms. Laurence Bouchardie introduced the group to Cruise Bordeaux’s communication campaign, the aim of which is to improve or rather renew the acceptability of cruise ships in the city. Ms. Bouchardie highlighted that the Covid pandemic caused a halt in cruise activities which led people to “forget” about cruise ships, while the election of the Green Party at the head of their city and boisterous statements such as “1 cruise ship equals 1 million cars”, have contributed to a context of increasingly reduced acceptability. Cruise Bordeaux’s strategy, an educational communication campaign entitled “Faisons escale ensemble”, or “Let’s call together”, is based on transparency and the sharing of verified facts and data about the impact, positive or negative, of the industry. At the same time, it promotes efforts made by cruise stakeholders, the local environment charter and other commitments to reduce the impact of the activity on Bordelais and Bordelaises’ everyday life.
Ms. Mª. Del Mar Perez described “Your Port Opens Up Again”, a successful example of social integration of ports which is the result of a partnership between the city, the port and private stakeholders to develop maritime passengers links and connectivity in the city and between the port and the city. This process, that started 30 years ago with the Barcelona Olympic Games, is now completed with a full opening of the Old Port to the city, creating new areas leisure areas for citizens. This process required close collaboration with the cruise industry, as it for instance naturally required the closure of all cruise terminals in the old port and the construction of new ones. This has led to the removal of ship emissions from the city centre, a reduction in congestion in the old port, a modernization of the passenger hubs, improved connectivity and job creation.
Ms. Jelka Tepšic provided us with a detailed overview of the Respect the City Program, the five goals of which come to grips with issues such as Human Resources Development, Innovative Destination Management, Sustainable and Balanced Local Development and finally Smart. This led to rapidly detectable results, such as a visible reduction of crowds, the creation of an integrated destination management for the city, effective public/private partnerships, more communication, coordination and cooperation among stakeholders, visitors and residents, more innovation by applying Smart City solutions and eventually, as the source and the outcome of all these, optimization and diversification of tourism products and services.
The following meeting will take place in 2023 and the development of the programme will take place during the first months of the year. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the next cruise season and the evolution of the port-city-cruises interactions.