In Tarragona, MedCruise designed the association of tomorrow

Inclusiveness was the main thematic stream of the 64th General Assembly of MedCruise, and the plenary sessions, human tower tradition or the creation of a new Atlantic region reflected this fundamental philosophy of MedCruise and the cruise industry as an extend.

Tarragona was the perfect destination for a successful 64th General Assembly, which launched on the same day of the inauguration of the brand-new Tarragona Cruise Terminal and the 28th anniversary of MedCruise, founded in 1996 by 16 visionary ports.

MedCruise General Assembly was characterized by the presence of almost 200 delegates, including a record number of cruise representatives, port and associated members, media representatives and travel experts thanks to the organization of Tarragona Cruise Port – Costa Daurada and MedCruise.

The delegates had the opportunity to engage in more than 648 productive B2B meetings and several networking events discovering the wonderful city port of Tarragona and experiencing the region of Costa Daurada.

During its Internal Matters, MedCruise port members voted a historical decision creating a new “Atlantic Region” represented by 3 countries with the ports of Lisbon, Cadiz, Madeira, Tenerife, Azores, Leixoes, Cabo Verde, Portimão, Huelva and Canarian ports. From the next elections, which will be held in Malaga in September, Atlantic Ports will have a representative at the Board of Directors.

The Assembly also voted for renaming and adding to the existing East Med area the Red Sea and from now on mention constitutionally this region as “East Med and Red Sea '', joining the other regions - West Med, Black Sea and Adriatic, constituting the growing association.

Foremost, the MedCruise’s inclusiveness spirit was experienced thanks to enriching and vivid panels opening with a session entitled “Women Power in the Waters” moderated by Anne-Marie Spinosi, with the participation of Captain Kate McCue, Marie-Caroline Laurent, and Figen Ayan. Gender equality has not been explored in a feminist manner, but inspiring panelists and moderators showed that our cruise industry is embracing men and women, who have a dedication to deliver simply the best, regardless of their gender.

We have been guided to create our MedCruise human tower and collectively absorb this long tradition.

As you all know, a holistic approach to sustainability has always been a dedication of this mandate and during one of the panels, we have discovered how to create harmonious and holistic services in our ports and destinations with more sustainable shore experiences by drawing on the expertise of our associate members, improving cruise passenger mobility and diverting traffic to lesser-known attractions to ease overcrowding at main tourist sites and promote a balanced, sustainable tourism approach. This panel was moderated by Mark Robinson with speakers Choni Fernández Veciana, Christine Manjencic, Turky Kari, and Jeff Shieh.

We have also decoded and created strategies to integrate smaller and medium sized ports into the cruise Itineraries and shared the expertise of travel experts, who have been to so many ports with a panel moderated by Laura Cimaglia and speakers included Giovanna Dipasquale, Francesco Rossiello,Stewart Chiron, and Scott Eddy.

Thanks to boutique and luxury cruise companies, which are looking for brand new shore experiences we have explored a new topic with open hearts evaluating the possibility of having expeditions conducted in Antarctica or Arctic in our Mediterranean region too. This was explored in a session moderated by Nicky Guerrero and participants included Spiros Almpertis, Hugues Lamy, and Sacha Rougier.

A subject which is important for our ports' management was the new border regulation that has been extremely well prepared during another leading event "International Cruise Summit" in Madrid. Frontex, which is the key company doing the planning has been with MedCruise to show the members and cruise lines how the EU ports can be well prepared thanks to a presentation given by Georgios Tsakalis, Frontex Senior Assistant, Traveller and Carrier Support Operator.

Finally, we have closed our plenary sessions by exploring how our ports & destinations can be inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community too with our friends from Queer Destinations that we discovered at ICS again. This presentation was given by Edgar Weggelaar, Partner and CEO of Queer Destinations.

Our welcome reception, gala and farewell dinners venues were unique. With such a high participation of cruise lines and media representatives, the well-known MedCruise B2B meetings have been vibrant like never before.

Tarragona was simply the best destination to discover antique sites and feel like travelling back in time too.

For 3 days, after enjoying unique venues, the delicious gastronomy of Tarragona or Costa Daurada, or diving into the productive networking platforms, one more time MedCruise's members, Cruise lines and media executives went back home with new or strong friendships. All this wrapped up by the hospitality that MedCruise and the Tarragona Management as the hosting port are offering you all during this 64th MedCruise General Assembly.

Comment of Figen Ayan, MedCruise President:

"This General Assembly was even more special for many reasons. Tarragona has opened its brand-new terminal building and everyone at our General Assembly celebrated all together this exciting development. It was on the 11th of June the 28th birthday of MedCruise, who was founded by visionary ports. We had also

a record number of participation of cruise lines since the foundation of the association in 1996. 26 cruise executives or decision makers from 23 cruise lines dived into this beautiful destination but also created ties with unique ports of the Mediterranean. We had amazing 11 national and international media or travel experts’ participation, who carried globally the unique destinations that we all represent. Also, we are approaching the end of a very active and productive 3-year mandate.

In this regard, I am proud to share that our association had an impressive growth of port members by almost 10% and associate members increase of almost 50% in only 2 years.

Upon the internal matters of the general assembly the members discovered all the innovations, publications, surveys, maps, collaborations and more that we worked hard on, and which will be reflected on our updated website.

I am happy to share that MedCruise and the cruise industry have been propelling us to be together more than ever and be strong reliable supports for each other. The presence of Julia Strich, Deputy Head of External Affairs Department at the Port of Odesa was another proof of it. #portstogether ".