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As the international cruise industry prepares for the highly anticipated Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predicts that the sector will attract up to 33 million passengers in 2023, significantly exceeding the 29.7 million recorded in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

According to recently released CLIA data, Greece, which is at the forefront of European cruising, is poised to enjoy an increase in economic impact from the industry, with Piraeus, the country’s leading seaport, forecasted to exceed one million passengers in 2023. In 2021, Greece achieved an unprecedented economic impact of €1.1 billion from cruise activities, compared to €957 million in 2019.

The sector supported 315,000 jobs in Europe, with 15,100 of those jobs based in Greece. Greece led the world with a swift and safe resumption of cruising during the pandemic and saw a significant increase in homeporting, leading to cruise lines purchasing goods and services from port suppliers. Also, passengers spent longer periods in port cities and overnight stays in local hotels, contributing to the increase of the economic impact due to longer stays of ships in port to carry out technical work.

Theodore Vokos, Managing Director of Posidonia Exhibitions SA, said that the Forum taking place outside Athens is an exciting development that will potentially further enhance cruising in Greece: “The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders to come together in Greece’s second biggest city and discover the potential of new destinations. With new cruise terminals set to be built in Souda-Chania after 2024, the planned expansion of the Piraeus cruise terminal, and Thessaloniki’s growing potential as an additional cruise hub, the industry’s growth is set to continue in Greece for the years to come.”

The value of cruise tourism cannot be overstated, with every 24 cruise guests equating to one full-time job and each guest spending on average €660 in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise. Furthermore, 60% of people that have taken a cruise have since returned to a destination they first visited on a cruise ship, hence each cruise is basically a self-funded fam trip. The CLIA Global Market Report 2020 shows that 85% of millennials plan to cruise again, followed by Gen-X (82%), Gen-Z (79%), Baby Boomers (77%), and Traditionalists (73%).

The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 25-26 April 2023 and will focus on “The Return to Growth: Challenges ahead for Cruise Lines and Destinations”. It promises to be a hub for discussions about the future of the cruise industry and its continued positive impact on the economy.


The PSTF 2023 will also be the platform for the first presentation of a socio-economic impact study produced by Thessaloniki Port Authority and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation, that will contribute to a better understanding of the benefits of cruising for the local community.

The benefits the cruise industry generates for both destinations and ports are frequently quoted, but the actual economic impact is rarely measured and seldomly reported. Participants at the PSTF 2023 will have a unique opportunity to learn all they need to know about actual passengers’ and crew spending levels, their preferred spending patterns, the levels of satisfaction from their visit, as well as the potential of their return to the city.

The presentation will showcase the socio-economic contribution of cruise in the port and city of Thessaloniki and preliminary data already provides useful insight into the spending patterns of cruise passengers and crew members in Thessaloniki. Hence cruise passengers direct their spending towards shopping (44%), restaurants & cafeterias (40%), sightseeing (12%) and food stores (3%). Crew members on the other hand direct their spending towards shopping (55%), restaurants & cafeterias (16%), transportation (14%) and food stores (10%).

Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications, ThPA SA – Port of Thessaloniki, commented: “We are financing this study together with the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation to better understand how the cruise industry benefits our city and how we can further enhance both passenger experience during their stay and the benefits for the local, regional and national economy. Once we better understand passenger expectations as a destination, we will be better able to provide cruise passengers a unique experience. This will serve as our stepping stone to attract more cruise lines to Thessaloniki in the coming years.”


Diamond sponsor

Port of thessaloniki logo

Gold sponsor

Region of central Macedonia logo

Silver sponsor

Piraeus port authority S.A. logo Cosco Shipping Logo

Official Airline

Sky express Logo

Bronze Sponsors

Celestyal Every journey tells a story logo Global ports Holding Logo Greek National Tourism Organisatiopn logo OAH Logo Kyvernitis logo Thessaloniki Logo


AVIS Global Air Compass Logo Modiano Traditional Food Market Logo


The Return to Growth: Challenges ahead for Cruise Lines and Destinations

DAY 1 | Tuesday 25 April 2023

09:50-10:00    Welcome messages:

  • Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Governor, Region of Central Macedonia (TBC)
  • Konstantinos Zervas, Mayor, Thessaloniki Municipality
  • Athanasios Liagkos, Executive Chairman of the BoD & Managing Director, ThPA SA – Port of Thessaloniki
  • Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions SA

10:10-11:30    STATE OF THE INDUSTRY: The Crucial Role of the Mediterranean in Post-Pandemic Cruising

  • After the traumatic period of the pandemic, how is the cruise restart in the Mediterranean progressing?
  • Given that many European destinations experienced very high arrival numbers in the second half of 2022, is it correct to assume cruising will be able to reach 2019’s record levels soon?
  • The long pause in cruise operations instigated a wide range of damage control maneuvers that called for significant fleet, corporate and financial restructuring. When can we begin to talk about a full recovery for the cruise industry?

Keynote Speech: Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division, MSC Group & Global Chairman, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)


  • Figen Ayan, President, MedCruise
  • Marie-Caroline Laurent, Director General, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe
  • Wybcke Meier, CEO, TUI Cruises GmbH
  • Chris Theophilides, CEO, Celestyal
  • Yu Zenggang, Chairman, Piraeus Port Authority SA

Moderator: Grant Holmes, Global Sector Head, Cruise & Superyacht Industry, Inchcape Shipping Services

11:50-13:10    Growth Challenges for Cruise Lines and Destinations

  • As tourism begins to regain its pre-pandemic rhythm, sustainability and overcrowding challenges will also return to the forefront for many popular destinations. How will this impact on future itinerary design and guest satisfaction?
  • Is berth allocation enough of a solution to ease pressure on marquee destinations?
  • Alternatively, could cruise lines, central & local governments, private sectors and ports cooperate to develop and promote enough destination alternatives to better disperse call traffic and mitigate the impact on marquee ports?
  • How can public and private investments be channeled toward port and tourism infrastructure development more effectively? What are the key areas to focus on so as to ensure a given destination’s capacity to meet both operational needs and passenger expectations in a satisfactory and sustainable way?

Welcome Message: Paraskevi Patoulidou, Deputy Regional Governor, Region of Central Macedonia & President, Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation


  • Agnes Brochet, Director, Destination Research, Development & Planning, Silversea Cruises
  • George Koumpenas, President, Hellenic Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members’ Union & Chief Operating Officer, Celestyal
  • Ukko Metsola, Vice President, Government Relations, EMEA, Royal Caribbean Group
  • Michael Pawlus, Director, Strategic Itinerary & Destination Planning, Azamara Cruises
  • Gianluca Suprani, SVP Port Development and Shoreside Activities, MSC Cruises

Moderator: Holly Payne, Editor Video Production & Deputy Editor, Seatrade Cruise

14:10-15:25    CLIA EUROPE Session – Pathways to Net Zero

  • The imperative need to decarbonize is a challenge faced by the entire maritime sector. The cruise industry has stated its commitment to pursuing net zero carbon cruising by 2050. What are the pathways available to achieve net zero, and what are the challenges that need to be overcome?
  • The three pillars of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) offer a framework to measure and understand how sustainably an organization is operating. How can these principles be put into practice?
  • Covering topics ranging from decarbonization, port infrastructure and safety requirements, to the Poseidon principles, this session will offer practical examples of implementation, and a guide through the maze to net zero


  • Dr Evangelos Kyriazopoulos, Secretary General of Ports, Port Policy and Maritime Investments, Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, Hellenic Republic
  • Linden Coppell, Vice President, Sustainability & ESG, MSC Cruises
  • Calypso Diareme, Global Head, Cruise Logistics, ATPI
  • Antony Vourdachas, Principal Engineer, Global Sustainability Center Athens, ABS

Moderator: Sascha Gill, Vice President, Sustainability, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

15:40    Thessaloniki Port Visit (Speakers, Delegates & Press | pre-registration required)

DAY 2 | Wednesday 26 April 2023

09:50-10:00    Welcome messages:

  • Olympia Anastasopoulou, General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, Ministry of Tourism, Hellenic Repulic

10:00-11:20    Infrastructure Solutions for Ports – Environmental & Sustainability Challenges

  • What are the required actions by all ports in order to be able to comply with the EU’s “Fit for 55” 2030 deadline for reduced greenhouse gas emissions?
  • In this regard, what exactly -if anything- is required in the case of very small transit cruise ports and islands?
  • • What fixed docking solutions are there to accommodate larger ships in smaller ports and islands without impacting on the destination’s aesthetic value and distinct characteristics?
  • If only a tender approach is possible, what solutions are there to improve anchorage conditions, safety, comfort and overall passenger experience?
  • How can multi-purpose smaller ports adapt to seasonal cruise calls? How effective is the use of moveable infrastructures?

Keynote presentation:

Socioeconomic impact of cruising on Thessaloniki: Presentation of a Thessaloniki Port Authority and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation study contributing to a better understanding of the benefits of cruising for the local community.

  • Thanos Pallis, Professor, Department of Maritime Studies, University of Piraeus


  • Manolis Alevropoulos, Vice President, Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises
  • Spyros Almpertis, Vice President, Port Operations, Itinerary Planning and Fuel Management, Crystal Cruises
  • Aziz Gungor, East Med Ports Regional Director, Global Ports Holding PLC & General Manager, Kusadasi Cruise Port
  • Minas Papadakis, Chief Executive Officer, Heraklion Port Authority
  • Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications, ThPA SA – Port of Thessaloniki

Moderator: Alex Napp, Managing Director, PWL Port Services

11:40-13:00    The Appeal of Venturing to Non-Mainstream Destinations: Luxury & Expedition Cruising leading the Way

  • The smaller sized cruise ships operated by luxury and expedition brands are capable of calling at a much wider range of cruise ports. Does the inclusion of more lesser-known and frequented destinations enhance itinerary appeal and overall guest satisfaction?
  • Some of these newer cruise destinations may lack the tourism sophistication and infrastructure of more popular ports, but they can offer genuine travel experiences. Is this a plus or a minus for a luxury brand?
  • New trends in cruiser expectations include more active shore experiences, as well as tours that focus on sustainability, environmental sensitivity, deeper immersion into local culture and other special features unique to a given destination. How important is the ability to offer such an array of shore options to niche cruise lines?


  • Michele Bosco, Manager, Shore Excursions – Mediterranean, North Africa & Black Sea, Holland America Group | Serving Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, and P&O Australia
  • Mark Robinson, Senior Vice President, Cruise Operations, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours
  • Sacha Rougier, Head of Itinerary Planning and Destination Experiences, Explora Journeys
  • Constantine Venetopoulos, Director, Communications & PR, Variety Cruises

Moderator: Grant Holmes, Global Sector Head, Cruise & Superyacht Industry, Inchcape Shipping Services

14:00-15:30    The Public Image of the Super Yacht Industry and the Reality behind the Industry

Organised by the European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY) and the Hellenic Committee for Professional Yachting (HCPY)

  • Addressing the negative impression of yachting with the general public
  • Yachting’s potential financial impact on the country’s economy
  • Local impact of yachting
  • What needs to be done to create an environment that will encourage yachting to Greece and the role ECPY can play in facilitating change
  • Employment opportunities and the future of yachting


  • Rosemary Pavlatou, President, Hellenic Committee for Professional Yachting (HCPY)
  • Oscar Siches, Member, Global Marine Business Adviser (GMBA) and ICOMIA’s first Golden Cleat award receiver
  • Thierry Voisin, President, European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY)

Moderator: Nikolaos Patsiokas, COO, BWA Yachting

14:00-15:30    Parallel Workshop CRUISE SALES: How can Travel Agents benefit from increased demand for Cruise Holidays

In association with CLIA and FedHATTA, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies


  • Massimiliano Gianvenuti, Key Account Manager IRs Israel, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, RCL Cruises Ltd
  • Andy Harmer, Director, CLIA UK & Ireland
  • Marios Polydorou, Director, Business Development & Travel Experience Centre, Celestyal
  • Andreas Stylianopoulos, President, Navigator Travel & Tourist Services

Moderator: Chrissie Palassis, Partner, CTM Hellas International Cruise Consultants

13:00-18:00    YES to SEApping

13:00 – 14:00   YES to SEApping tour at the exhibition stands and discussion with their representatives

14:00 – 15:30   Attendance “The public image of the super yacht industry and the reality behind the industry” session

15:30 – 18:00   ΥΕS to SEApping Forum 2023

“YES to SEApping Forum 2023” aims to inform young people about the evolving Blue Economy by covering both Shipping and Sea Tourism Industries, two sectors of crucial importance for the economy and development of our country.

“ΥΕS to SEApping Forum 2023” has invited representatives of shipping organizations and institutions so that the young participants of Northern Greece can gain a global view of the breadth of the industry and the opportunities that shipping offers across its entire spectrum.


  • Kostis Achladitis, Managing Director, Golden Cargo & 2nd Vice President, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Christina Bezantakou, CEO, KEFI SA
  • Maria Deligianni, National Director – Eastern Mediterranean, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
  • Costis Frangoulis, Founder & CEO, FRANMAN & President, International Propeller Club Port of Piraeus
  • Panagiotis Mallios, Managing Director, Seabright & Vice President, HEMEXPO
  • Nikolaos Mavrikos, President & Managing Director, Mavrikos Imports SA
  • Dr George Pateras, Deputy Chairman, Contships Management & President, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping
  • Elpi Petraki, Chartering/ Operations/ Business Development Manager, ENEA Management INC & President, WISTA International
  • Gina Polemi, Office Manager – Business Development Director, BWA Yachting, BoD Member, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Vice President, HCPY & President, Greek Private Yacht’s Representatives Association
  • Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications, ThPA SA – Port of Thessaloniki
  • Lyssandros Tsilidis, President, Federation of Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies of Greece (FedHATTA)

Moderator: Danae Bezantakou, CEO, Navigator Shipping Consultants & Concept-Founder, YES Forum


Exhibitors 2023

Exhibitors 2023

Exhibition Floor Plan

For Sponsorships and Stand options contact:
Tel: + 30 210 4283608

For Press information contact:
EXTROVERT | Business Communications
Tel: + 30 210 6724265

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