An exhibition (21-24 March 2011) on Cruise tourism: making Europe the world’s No 1 destination in the European Parliament drew hundreds of visitors. Hosted by MEP Jacqueline Foster, exhibition’s reception was attended by numerous MEPs, commission, council and many members of the shipping industry.

The exhibition was a celebration and showcase for the European cruise industry’s contribution to making Europe the world’s number one destination. The exhibition presented several inter-linking themes including tourism, shipbuilding, setting higher standards, the contribution to the economy, destinations and career opportunities

The exhibition was a stepping-stone toward the Cruise Council annual conference on 15 June 2011 .

Key note speeches at the reception focused on the importance of the cruise industry for Europe and the necessity to maintain Europe as the number 1 destination for tourism:

MEP Jacqueline Foster (UK/ECR) emphasised the important contribution of the cruise industry to the economy, especially by supplying jobs. Europe has become the centre of the cruise industry, not just as a main tourist attraction but most of the cruise ships are being build in European ship yards. As politicians, MEP Foster declared, that we must help the industry by ensuring that legislation will not have a negative impact.

MEP Carlo Fidanza (IT/EPP) is the Rapporteur for “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe”.  In order to ensure Europe will remain the number 1 destination we must improve competition, have top quality ports and integrated maritime policy. Unfortunately, many ports are not prepared for cruise tourism and that is a negative effect on the industry and the area near the port. The 3 main issues we must tackle are:

  1. 1.     Legislation
  2. 2.     Funding
  3. 3.     Long term investments

MEP Brian Simpson (UK/S&D), chairman of the Transport and Tourism Committee, spoke of the contribution of tourism to regional development. The cruise tourism industry supply Jobs and has a major impact on cities near ports. Further, the vast majority of ships are actually being built in Europe. Cruise tourism is a key element in the tourism industry and he is sure that there will be many more initiatives in the years to come.

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio Chairman of the ECC thanked MEP Foster, MEP Fidanza, MEP Simpson and the rest of the guests for their support and is looking forward working with everyone in the future.

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