Thirty years on, Cruise Europe continues to spearhead positive and effective industry relations
In 1991, a small group of committed and visionary port executives established Cruise Europe. All these years later, all of the 27 founders are still part of the association of Northern European ports and destinations, which has and continues to grow and adapt in order to support the industry.
In this past year, that support has reached new limits as the coronavirus has spread worldwide and brought the cruise industry almost to a standstill. This does not mean that work has stopped. Far from it, behind the scenes people are working doubly hard to, literally, refloat the industry.
Little by little, cruiseships have begun sailing. A large part of that effort can be accredited to the ports and destinations, such as those in CE, that have put in place protocols to assist the raft of requirements needed to keep crew and passengers safe.
While Cruise Europe has postponed its annual conference to February 22-24 2022, Edinburgh will still be the host. In addition, the Scottish city will be the backdrop to the association’s Annual General Meeting on May 20.
Jens Skrede, managing director CE, says: “This will be a virtual event for our members but we see it as an AGM with benefits. Depending on the situation at the time, we hope to have some presentations in person, live online or pre-recorded from cruiseline executives. As always we want to share and collaborate on best practices and the way forward.
“Our message is clear. We are here, we are fighting on behalf of the industry and on behalf of our members. We will do whatever it takes to ensure our members are well informed and equipped to provide appropriate services as we move toward a new normal.
“I think we can be optimistic about people from Europe being able to attend the CEC in 2022. The good news is that we have been able to secure the same venues that were planned for our original conference. Delegates can look forward to staying in the Kimpton on Charlotte Square and networking in the splendid Royal Yacht Britannia and the National Museum of Scotland.”
CE talked to Rob Mason, head of cruise at Forth Ports (including Edinburgh), about the upcoming events. “It has been an incredibly challenging and worrying time for the worldwide cruise industry during the global pandemic. We do however take great pride in our industry and the positive efforts we have all made to work together, supporting lay-up requirements, crew repatriations and now the significant work around safe restart frameworks; proof that challenging times will bring out the best in people.
“However we can’t overlook the events of the past tumultuous year, it was a season like no other with our own market completely inactive since the start of the Covid-19 restrictions put in place in the Spring of 2020. As we look to rebuild and restart the wonderful cruising sector, we need to continue working together to ensure customer and local community confidence is at its highest possible level, and as a sector we have taken this time to do everything we possibly can to provide a safe return to cruising.
“In 2020 we promised Cruise Europe Conference delegates an exciting experience in the UNESCO city of Edinburgh, and we hope to deliver on this promise in February 2022. In the meantime, we all look forward to the virtual Cruise Europe event on 20 May 2021.
“The event in May is a great opportunity for us all to continue our work together and celebrate Cruise Europe’s 30th Year Anniversary, as an established network which will now be intrinsic in building momentum and confidence again in the sector.
“We need to be collaborative in our approach, developing and delivering consistently the enhanced procedures and protocols to restart safely; protecting the crews, passengers, port teams and our destinations against Covid-19.
“Importantly we need to rebuild the industry with confidence, whilst acknowledging the economic value of cruise to our destinations. In doing this we will all play our part in repositioning the industry back onto the hugely successful growth trajectory experienced pre Covid-19.
“Looking ahead, our rescheduled conference in Edinburgh 2022 is a key event for the cruise industry. Unlike many other businesses in the tourism sector, the cruise industry will effectively need to restart after over a year of unprecedented inactivity.
“The three-day conference will take place in Edinburgh and we are grateful that the Scottish hospitality sector has supported us with these changes. We will use the event to continue the collaborative effort and to share best practice, addressing not only the impact of Covid-19, but the industries’ commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
“We will also be fully engage with the cruiselines as we emerge from this worldwide public health crisis and explore all the exciting opportunities for our ports and destinations.
“In closing and on a positive note, it was heartening to hear that despite the pandemic, 16 new cruiseships were delivered in 2020, and in Scotland, we are certainly looking forward to seeing cruiseships sailing again in our waters and welcoming travellers to enjoy our famous sites and warm hospitality.”