The Madrid cruise congress has successfully united the major players in the cruise industry.
The International Cruise Summit 2015 organized by CruisesNews Media Group, was held on 18 and 19 November, and was acclaimed by delegates to have been a resounding success.
The inauguration was led by the President of Ports of Spain, José Llorca, who sought to highlight the support of the institutions of the cruise industry in our country and the commitment to overcome the legislative obstacles that might exist in the future. He also expressed his difference of opinion with those who view cruises as a threat to the lifestyle of citizens at ports of call, and highlighted the excellent port infrastructure which already exists in our country.
Later during his presentation, Raphael Von Heereman, Secretary General of CLIA Europe, focused on the huge economic contribution of the industry to the European economy, which is generating 1.2 billion euros in Spain. Regarding the future, he outlined some challenges such as environmental restrictions and the lack of infrastructure for waste discharge. Finally, he drew the audience’s attention tothe great opportunity that Cuba represents to the further expansion of cruise tourism.
The congress had many memorable moments, such as the interview with Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises which was conducted by Virginia Lopez, managing director of Cruises News Media Group and the host of the event. Mr Palomba stressed the European leadership which his company can validate based on the European origin of their customers, regardless of where they have deployed their boats. He revealed that for the next generation of ships they want to build spaces that could be used throughout the day and not just during specific hours.
Although the future of the cruise industry is developing mainly in Asia, Marcus Puttich, Head of Port Operations of TUI Cruises, wanted to make clear that not all new ships will be sent to China. Europe will receive new vessels too and for that reason investment in infrastructure and security across Europe will still remain key. Indeed, port cruise associations have to provide a strategic vision to their members on how to address investment. They are seen as excellent partners for cruise lines.
For the first time, river cruises had their own place in the International Cruise Summit showing how this market is growing exponentially every year.
During this edition, participants had the opportunity to discuss the presentations, asking questions of the speakers and also interacting with them through a special app designed for the event which allowed them to vote in favour or against some of the topics discussed, there by generating further discussions which clarified doubts and complemented the original content.