Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum

Reinventing Cruising in the East Mediterranean

The Cruising and Yachting Event of the East Mediterranean
23 - 24 May 2017
Conference Programme*


08:00-09:00 Registration - Welcome Coffee

Opening Statement by the Minister of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy Mr. Panagiotis Kouroumplis

Key Note Address:
REINVENTING CRUISING IN THE EAST MEDITERRANEAN, Larry Pimentel, President & CEO, Azamara Club Cruises
  • The two-year outlook for cruising in the Western Mediterranean is bullish as opposed to the gloomy prospects in the East. Is there short term hope that this picture will change?
  • How has the rapid development of the Chinese cruise market with its impressive growth rate in both the demand for cruises and in the development of new cruise destinations affected the cruise lines’ interest and cruise growth in the Mediterranean?
  • The ongoing turmoil in Syria has effectively cancelled cruise interest for countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and in part, Israel. Combined with the fairly recent events in the Crimea that cancelled the Black Sea ports for cruise activity, these events have dramatically affected the cruise map of the Eastern Mediterranean. Have we reached the lowest demand for the region? 
  • Additionally, we have seen extensive cancellations of cruise calls to Turkey in the last two seasons due to political unrest and the migrant crisis, which has ultimately crossed over to also impact Greece. Can we see a return of cruise calls in Turkey in the foreseeable future?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Tom Fecke, Secretary General, CLIA Europe CV
  • George D. Pateras, Chairman, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping CV
  • Kristijan Pavić, President, MedCruise CV
  • Larry Pimentel, President & CEO, Azamara Club Cruises CV
  • Richard J. Vogel, President & CEO, Grupo Pullmantur CV
Moderator: Nigel Lingard, Cruise & Travel Industry Management Consultant CV

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break - Sponsored by the Municipality of Ios Island 
  • What is the overall picture for port investments in the Mediterranean’s cruise intensive ports?
  • The privatisation of all facilities of the Port of Piraeus is now a reality. What are the short and long term plans for the Piraeus cruise port?
  • The new cruise port in Istanbul is under construction. What are its features and what measures are the authorities taking to bring back cruise interest for Istanbul?   
  • Given political stability in the region and with substantial investments in Piraeus and Istanbul, can some of the overflow of the West Med’s homeporting return to the East?
  • Apart from the obvious presence in Turkey, Global Ports have shown a very aggressive interest in cruise ports and terminals throughout the Mediterranean. Given the current demand for the region, is this focus on cruise related investments warranted?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Figen Ayan, Vice President - Cruise Operations, Istanbul Port CV
  • Michel Nestour, Vice President, Global Port and Destination Development – EUROMED, Carnival Corporation & PLC CV
  • Theodora I. Riga, Manager of Strategic Planning & Marketing Department, Piraeus Port Authority CV
  • Ana Karina Santini, Public Relations Italy and Med Port Development Manager, Royal Caribbean - Celebrity Cruises - Azamara Club Cruises CV
  • Emre Sayın, CEO, Global Ports Holding CV
Moderator: Nigel Lingard, Cruise & Travel Industry Management Consultant CV
12:45-14:00 Delegate Lunch
  • Deployment decisions take into account many parameters which influence the design of cruise itineraries and ultimately, those of shore excursions. How does passenger conception of the destination influence the itinerary decision and shore excursion participation?
  • Shore services sourcing impacts the profitability of all land programs. Is this the only variable cruise lines consider when selecting a local partner or is quality of services a factor for consideration?  
  • New trends in land activities such as AR and VR experiences are becoming an integral component of tour content. Do such innovative elements increase excursion sales? 
Confirmed Speakers
  • Claudius Docekal, Vice President, Deployment, Crystal Cruises CV
  • Craig Milan, VP - Itinerary/Destination Development, Virgin Voyages CV
  • Captain Luigi Pastena, Manager, Port Captain, Port Operations Director, MSC Cruises CV
Moderator: Chrissie Palassis, Partner, CTM Hellas CV
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break

  • Cruise lines are always looking for new alternatives to enrich itineraries. Greece has vast untapped potential in island and mainland destinations, but with access challenges. How should Greece plan and prioritize its port development strategy to enrich its cruise offering?
  • For some destinations, size and other individual characteristics make it unfeasible to embark on extensive port development schemes. However, proximity to major ports could help them emerge through marine excursions. What is needed to develop modern marine excursion services successfully in Greece?
  • Apart from striving to satisfy passenger excursion expectations, cruise lines are also seeking more shore excursion revenue potential in their tour selections. How should Greek destinations expand and refine their offering to meet modern cruise tourism demands?
  • The desire to develop a sea plane service in the Greek Islands and in other coastal locations has been undoubtedly strong. Is there news on the licensing progress and is there a possibility to offer seaplane excursions in the near future?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Stavros - Ioannis Benos, President, DIAZOMA Association CV
  • Theodore Kontes, President, Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members CV
  • Andreas Stylianopoulos, Member of BoD, Marketing Greece, CEO, Navigator Travel & Tourist Services Ltd CV
  • Diogenis Venetopoulos, Commercial Director, Variety Cruises CV
  • Dr Angelos Vlachos, Member of the BoD, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund CV
Moderator: Ilias G. Bissias, Director, Naftika Chronika, Isalos.net CV

08:00-09:00 Registration - Welcome Coffee

Opening Statement by the Minister of Tourism Mrs Elena Kountoura

  • In the last two seasons we have seen a decrease in demand by cruise passengers to cruise in regions affected by the migrant crisis and other political events. The result has been extensive cancellations in Turkey and Greece. Can the tourism entities of the both countries co-operate with the cruise lines to regenerate interest for the region?
  • Airlift and airport facilities go hand in hand with cruise operations. In recent years we have seen air route expansion out of Istanbul and Athens airports resulting in greater airlift from diverse destinations. Has this message been successfully relayed to cruise lines considering homeporting options?
  • Regional cruise homeports are very common in the West Mediterranean and Italy. With the privatisation of 14 Greek regional airports is it feasible to further develop Greece’s alternative homeports? Similarly, is Turkey pursuing efforts to further develop regional ports and airports?
  • Cruise lines cultivate good relations with governments to facilitate cruise activity in the regions they operate. How conducive are the present circumstances in the region for such co-operations?
Confirmed Speakers
  • George Tziallas, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development, Ministry of Tourism CV
  • Ukko Metsola, Vice President, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd CV
  • Erkunt Öner, Member of BoD, Turkey Tourism Investors Association CV
  • Dr Yiannis N. Paraschis, Chief Executive Officer, Athens International Airport SA CV
  • Yiannis A. Retsos, President, SETE CV
Moderator: Alkman Granitsas, Communications Consultant CV
09:15-11:00 Parallel WORKSHOP
This interactive workshop aims to provide port authority and port fund managers with the tools to successfully operate their ports and manage their cruise calls.

Confirmed Speakers
  • Elisabetta de Nardo, Global Head of Port Operations & Destination Management Classic, Silversea Cruises CV
  • George Koumpenas, Vice President Operations, Celestyal Cruises CV
  • Dr Thanos Pallis, Secretary General, MedCruise CV
  • Sacha Rougier, Managing Director, Cruise Gate Hamburg CV
Moderator: Alex Napp, Managing Director, PWL Port Services GmbH & Co. KG CV
11:00-11:15 Coffee Break
  • Until now, the road in Greece has been steep. However, the completion of major privatisations such as those of the Port of Piraeus, the regional airports and the Ellinikon coastal real estate development project, seem to have hanged the outlook and prospects for further privatisations. Is this in fact the case?
  • Cyprus Ports have been preparing for privatisation for some time. What is the experience gained and will the privatisation process create active cruise ports and marinas?
  • Appraisals for privatisations are an integral part of the process. Traditionally, in the Mediterranean we have many multipurpose ports and ad hoc marinas. Are we able to create attractive packages for serious investors?
  • Waterfront real estate development potential plays an integral role in the success of a marina investment. How realistic is this within the restrictions of existing infrastructure?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Stergios Pitsiorlas, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Development CV
  • Eleftherios Hatjizacharia, Chairman, Cyprus Ports Authority CV
  • Stavros Katsikadis, President of the Board, Greek Marinas Association CV
  • Carla Salvado, Director of Cruise Marketing, Global Ports Holding CV
  • Pavlos M. Zeccos, Managing Director, American Appraisal CV
Moderator: Alkman Granitsas, Communications Consultant CV

11:15-12:45 Parallel WORKSHOP
This workshop is designed to give travel agents an overview as to how to approach cruise sales and maximize commissions and how to generate group sales, as well as offering pointers on cruise product selection.
  • Dimitris Ampatzidis, Country Manager Sales & Chartering, Celestyal Cruises CV
  • Nigel Lingard, Cruise & Travel Industry Management Consultant CV
  • George Paliouras, Member of the BoD, FedHatta CV
  • Andreas Stylianopoulos, CEO, Navigator Travel & Tourist Services Ltd CV
In association
12:45-14:00 Delegate Lunch
  • The question of cabotage has been extensively debated over the last few years, with little result. Instead of trying to block foreign flagged entries to the local yachting market and in particular those of mega yachts, should the government address the issue of making the Greek flag more competitive and thereby making it more attractive? If so, what incentives would work?
  • Apart from the crowded marinas of the Attica Region, yacht owners have the choice to use marinas located on the islands or other parts of the mainland. Do the existing facilities and services provided satisfy requirements of owners or is the case of the award-winning Kos Marina simply an exception?
  • The recent government decision to impose a 24% VAT on all ship and yacht building in Greece for local owners effectively discourages interest in new constructions and repair works, even though there are facilities available and the know-how to support a robust industry. Will policy makers be able to look at the long term benefits such an industry will bring to the economy and adjust policy accordingly?       
  • Traditionally, sailing is one of Greece’s most successful sport and recreational activities. Yacht races and regattas in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, whilst not uncommon, are not as high profiled or frequent as one would hope. What needs to be done to attract more international interest?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Sarah Balls, MYBA Consultant CV
  • Aris Drivas, Vice President, Greek Yachting Association CV
  • Benjamin Guy Marshall, Captain CV
  • Rosemary Pavlatou, Director, A1 Yacht Trade Consortium SA, Member, MYBA CV
  • Antonis Stelliatos, President, Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association CV
  • Janet Xanthopoulos, Legal Advisor / Head of Yacht Ownership and Administration Dpt, Rosemont Yacht Services CV
Moderator: Alkman Granitsas, Communications Consultant CV

14:00-15:15  Parallel WORKSHOP
  • Acquiring Services for the Cruise Industry
  • Money Management of Maritime Payroll
  • eWallets and Prepaid Cards for Business Expenses
GBANQ has developed effective and flexible eMoney solutions that enables its clients to manage as well as streamline their financial costs. Our solutions and products including Prepaid Card solutions for maritime crew payroll and credit card clearance solutions are tailor-made for the maritime companies and supported by Prepaid Financial Services Ltd (PFS), an alternative banking provider and established e-money issuer authorised and regulated by the FCA in the UK.
Attendance at the workshop is free for Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum participants.
Please confirm your participation by sending an email at info@gbanq.com, in order to receive a Prepaid MasterCard for free.

Confirmed Speakers
  • Adonis Georgiadis, VP of Nea Demokratia, former Minister of Maritime affairs CV
  • Theodore Kontes, President, Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members CV
  • Noel Moran, CEO, Prepaid Financial Services Limited & eCOMM Merchant Solutions - Presentation of PFS & eCOMM CV
  • Georgios A. Tsatsaronis, Business Development, GBANQ Global Payment Solutions Ltd - Presentation of Acquiring services, Payroll and Business Expenses Solutions CV
Moderator: Gregory Dedes, President of the Board, PC System S.A.
14:00-15:30 Parallel WORKSHOP
The Bluegrowth programme aims to inspire and support startups with innovative ideas relating to the blue economy, including shipping, tourism, fisheries, and the marine ecosystem. The process is carried out through the big competition Bluegrowth, organised for the 3rd year in a row, in which teams that have already submitted their proposals take part. The selected ones join the "incubation" programme of Bluegrowth, building a strong foundation to enter the "business world". The Posidonia Sea Tourism forum will host the final presentations of the teams that participated in Bluegrowth’s incubation programme. Attendance at the Bluegrowth workshop is free for Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum participants.
Confirmed Speakers

Opening Statement by the Mayor of Piraeus Mr. Yannis Moralis
  • George Alexandratos, Member, Maritime Hellas Cluster Organising Committee
  • Antonis Kalis, Technical Project Manager, Lynceus
  • Nikos Ververidis, Co-founder, Aephoria
  • BlueGrowth 3rd Cycle presentations
15:45-18:00    YES to SEA TOURISM Forum
The YES to Sea Tourism Forum aims to serve as a platform of open dialogue between young promising executives and the Decision Makers from the Shipping & Tourism Industry, enabling them to exchange views.
The projected renaissance of Greece’s sea tourism has also reignited the interest of the young generation in yachting, cruising and passenger shipping. YES to Sea Tourism Forum will address the opportunities available in these sectors and the skills needed to be successful in them. To join this session contact: info@yes-forum.com or visit www.yes-forum.com

Welcoming Addresses
  • Danae Bezantakou, Managing Director, Navigator Shipping Consultants CV
  • Pafsanias Papageorgiou, General Secretary for Lifelong Learning and Youth CV
  • Evridiki Kourneta, General Secretary of Tourism CV
  • Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, Secretary-General, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) CV
  • Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy (TBC)
  • Ilias Tsakiris, CEO, American Hellenic Hull Insurance Company Ltd. CV
  • Harris Daskalakis, Executive Director, BCA COLLEGE CV
Presentation of YES to Sea Tourism Survey by Xenia Kourtoglou, Founder & Managing Partner, FOCUS BARI

Speech and live debate with Young Executives by Ukko Metsola, Vice President, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd CV
Moderator: George Xiradakis, Managing Director, XRTC BUSINESS CONSULTANTS LTD. and President of THE PROPELLER CLUB (PORT OF PIRAEUS) CV
  • Diogenis Venetopoulos, Partner - Vice President Sales, Variety Cruises  CV
  • Emmanuel A. Vordonis, President, POSEIDONION GRAND HOTEL, Ex-Executive Director, Thenamaris CV
  • Dimitris Koutsolioutsos, CEO/Founder, INSTAYACHT - Farmers Republic CV
  • Chrissie Palassis, Partner, CTM Hellas CV
  • Maria Theofanopoulou, Publisher, Greek Travel Pages CV
*The programme may be subject to changes

Under the Auspices of


Supporting Organisations