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The cruise industry represents one of the most flourishing segments of the international tourism market in recent years, and the Mediterranean has not been immune to this boom. The Mediterranean region is a very complete tourist destination as it offers a wide variety of landscapes and cultural and culinary activities with a fairly good quality-price ratio. More so, it can be enjoyed by all ages groups throughout the year.

Although the Mediterranean is the second cruise destination in the world, after the Caribbean, it has the potential to become the first inbound harbour due to its excellent weather conditions that allow a long cruise season, and the attractiveness of its diversity of cultures and differentiated itineraries. The global leading cruise operators and companies are aware of this promising and strategic room for growth, and they have been positioning themselves in the region in order to achieve competitive advantages in this market.

As a matter of fact, the cruise industry is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry, with an increase in demand of 20.5% in the last five years. Around 29 million people chose to go on a cruise in 2019. There are more than 150 cruising harbours in the Mediterranean shores and around 70 operators, being Barcelona the main hub for all the southern and eastern Mediterranean cruises and itineraries.

The cruise industry makes 45 billion euros per year and generates about 320.000 jobs. It can be said without a shadow of a doubt that this sector plays a high important role in both the shipping and tourism industry. And its impressive production supply chain of direct and indirect goods and services associated to this sector acts as a strong economic driver.

However, the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Mediterranean economies in an unprecedented way, especially those industries linked to the tourism sector. Governments from all around the region have focused on launching and implementing extraordinary measures mainly focused on those industrial and productive sectors. Now, it is time to conceptualise and depict the recovery road map of key leisure sectors that is both sustainable with the environment and profitable for the destination cities. 

19th November 2021

15:00 – 16:30

Key points for discussion:

  • Main consequences of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak: Challenges and opportunities for the cruise industry.
  • Cruise industry and safety: How to frame the cruise industry as a safe travel destination? Best practices on ensuring and communicate safety measures in the cruise industry?
  • Outlining the future of the cruise sector as a key economic driver in the Mediterranean region.


Caterina Passariello | President of the Canadian Chamber in Italy

Speakers confirmed

Figen Ayan | President, MedCruise

Pino Musolino | President of the Port Authority of Centre North Tyrrhenian Sea 

Mar Pérez | Head of Cruises, Barcelona port

Ukko Metsola | Director General de Cruise Lines International Association Europe

Dimitris Lemonakis | Administrative Council Member, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry


Speakers to be confirmed

Aris Batsoulis | President, MedCruise Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports

Herve Martel | President, Grand Port maritime de Marseille (GPMM)

Pierfrancesco Vago | President, MSC Cruceros and CLIA Cruise lines International Association     

Mehdi Tazi Riffi |Managing Director, Tanger Med Port (TMPA)


Salvador Illa

Ministry of Health, Government of Spain (Special Guest Speaker)

Enric Mayolas

Consulting Director, World Health Management (Moderator)

Gonzalo Fanjul

Policy Director, Institut Salut Global

Chakib Abouzaid

Secretary General, General Arab Insurance Federation

European Regional Development Fund              A way to make Europe