Pan European Cruise Dialogue hosted by the European Commission
The European Commission, hosted a pan European dialogue with stakeholders from the cruise industry last Thursday and Friday. This dialogue was attended by FLIP partners/representatives Nathalie Dumay and Simon Pascoe. The dialogue was triggered by the EC Communication "A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism" published last year. The dialogue brought together 200 participants, representing all sectors of cruise tourism stakeholders. The discussions covered a number of the common challenges facing the sector and the need to build bridges towards achieving a more coherent, integrated and participative approach to the development of a competitive and sustainable cruise tourism in Europe. Whilst the dialogue generally focuses on Mediterranean issues of the larger scale markets the issues of sustainability and benefits for coastal regions were of significance to the FLIP ports. Interesting presentations were made by Cruise Scotland and in a parralell session on the Atlantic opportunities in the future.
The dialogue generally:
- acknowledged the principles and objectives set forth in the Europe 2020 Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal, Maritime Tourism, and Blue Growth sectors;
- Emphasised that tourism is a key sector of the European economy, but also an important means of promoting Europe's image in the world, projecting our values and promoting the European model – which is the result of centuries of cultural exchanges, linguistic and historical diversity, common identity and creativity;
- Underlined the importance of the Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, and of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention on Integrated Coastal Zone Management and the relevant Council Recommendation, for a harmonious development of cruise tourism in our maritime regions;
- Stressed the importance of sustainable cruise, coastal and maritime tourism for the European economy as a driving force to the creation of jobs and growth and to the promotion of Blue Growth for Europe;
- Recognised the fast growth of cruise tourism and its specificities compared to other forms of tourism;
- Underlined the need to involve all the tourism chain in the benefits and deliveries for cruise tourism;
- Recognized the contribution of cruise, coastal and maritime tourism to the social and economic development of coastal and insular destinations, the importance of coastal and insular destinations as touristic attractions and the need to preserve their authenticity and heritage;
- Emphasized the need to guarantee the well-being of coastal and insular populations by ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cruise visits;
- Reaffirmed the need for environmental sustainability of cruise tourism achieved through appropriate management of noise levels, waste, water, air quality and energy efficiency, in full application of existing legislation;
- Recognized the importance of port efficiency for the development of connection gateways for coastal regions, and their multiple functions in relation to the economic and social set up ofregions and Member States;
- Underlined, also, that ports are playing a significant role in the protection of the marine environment and avoidance of pollution from ships by providing adequate port reception facilities and suitable quayside energy infrastructure;
- Stressed the need for better connectivity between ports and coastal inland attractions;
- Acknowledged the importance and the role of existing cruise tourism fora and other consultation mechanisms for the wider shipping industry, such as the European Sustainable Shipping Forum;
- Reminded that the promotion of tourism is first and foremost a matter for national, regional and local authorities;
- Stressed the importance of a structured dialogue for the development of a coherent policy and cooperation framework for cruise, coastal and maritime tourism in Europe, involving the whole coastal tourism value chain, local, regional and national policymakers, port representatives and cruise operators;
- Paid tribute to the particularities of different sea basins and the need for a dedicated approach to different regional challenges and untapped potentials;
- Underlined the need of coordinated implementation of environmental legislation by Member States.
In the conclusions to the dialogue, it was agreed to follow up this initiative by:-
- Cooperating towards the promotion of a competitive and sustainable cruise, coastal and maritime tourism in Europe, with shared benefits for all stakeholders, including coastal and insular communities;
- Promoting an integrated approach between cruise industry, ports and coastal tourism stakeholders for cruise tourism at local, regional, national and European level, and to encourage the involvement of stakeholders in the decision making process;
- Encouraging the development of transnational and inter-regional partnerships, networks, clusters and strategies for smart specialisation in order to overcome fragmentation in the sector;
- Fostering cooperation towards innovation and digitalisation for the cruise, coastal and maritime tourism sector, including by encouraging skills training development, by seeking research basedpolicy decisions and by promoting innovative information and communication technologies;
- Promoting existing stakeholder (ports authorities, cruise lines, tourism authorities) networks and initiatives for cooperation, dialogue and best practice exchange in the sector;
- Helping the main coastal tourism stakeholders to overcome the challenges that they face, namely seasonality, sustainability and accessibility;
- Continuing the dialogue at European level in order to address common challenges and to promote best practice sharing for the identification and implementation of solutions for common challenges such as congestion in ports, provision of sufficient and adequate services and facilities in ports, saturation and carrying capacity of destinations, connections from ports to touristic centres and inland attractors, and coordinated implementation of legislation;
- Promoting the dialogue at regional level, at a regular basis and in different European regions/ sea basins, and joint best practice solutions for specific regional challenges, and fostering regional cooperation towards joint policy development, including for example joint tourism and / or promotion of European destinations strategies;
- Establishing by the main stakeholders a "cooperation platform" for the continuation of the dialogue, bringing together cruise operators, ports and coastal tourism stakeholders, in order to organise and promote the dialogue at European and regional / sea-basin level;
- Collaborating towards the development of quality of services for the cruise tourism offer, enhancing the position of Europe as a cruise destination of excellence and towards the joint promotion of Europe as a coastal destination, including by joint regional promotion of destinations in external tourism markets.
The relevant European Commission services will continue to facilitate this pan-European dialogue and to take or propose the relevant measures which could contribute to the sustainable
development of the coastal and maritime tourism.