Focusing on the big picture with cruise destinations across Europe

Cruise Europe initiatives support the industry on issues like climate change and overtourism

Focusing on the big picture with cruise destinations across Europe
The Cruise Europe conference, its first in-person event since the pandemic, will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February 2022

By Jens Skrede |

Cruise Europe has a unique geographical spread, with bases in Lisbon, Portugal; St Petersburg, Russia; Svalbard, Norway; and Iceland. During the pandemic we had to change our communication strategy and succeeded in recruiting new port members such as Reykjavik and Keflavik in Iceland, as well as Shannon Foynes in Ireland.

In our 30th year, Cruise Europe remains committed to supporting the cruise industry and has hosted two online webinars that focused on developing procedures and protocols to help accelerate the resumption of cruising in northern Europe. The first was in May and live from Trondheim, Norway, with some of our members in attendance. At this event we also had our first ever virtual annual general meeting as a members-only part of the programme. We recently followed this up with a shorter version of the event where four cruise lines and five Cruise Europe members presented experiences from the 2021 season and looked into the crystal ball to anticipate next year and beyond.

The pandemic has brought the sustainability of leisure activities into focus, reawakening discussions about the need for less-crowded locations, outdoor activities, preventing overtourism, facilitating social distancing, and tourism’s role in climate change.

Sustainability must be at the forefront of everything we do. We have established a sustainability sub-committee, which is chaired by Cruise Europe’s chairman Michael McCarthy and consists of one member from each of the four Cruise Europe regions. 

The group aims to assist members with facts and share case studies and has already identified some areas of focus. They include the economic impact of cruising, onshore power for cruise ships, exhaust gas cleaning systems and regulations, air quality and environmental indexes. Other issues include the European Union’s ‘Fit for 55’ legislation and reviewing solutions for onshore power, as well as concerns about the generating source, power shortage and security of supply.

These issues will also be discussed at the Cruise Europe conference, which will be our first in-person event since the pandemic and will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February 2022. There will also be livestream sessions for those who are not able to travel. Forth Ports, our partner in Edinburgh, has booked iconic venues such as the Royal Yacht Britannia and the National Museum of Scotland for our social events on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. 

As we enter our 31st year, Cruise Europe will concentrate on the impact of cruising in our region. Our ports are reviewing the future model of tourism post-Covid, addressing overtourism, focusing on sustainable practices and protecting the environment, while at the same time creating added value to our cruise line partners.

Jens Skrede is managing director at Cruise Europe

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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