Providing insight, developing ideas and defining new trends, the specialist conferences are an important element of the Seatrade Europe Cruise & River Cruise Convention, Europe’s leading event for the cruise industry taking place in Hamburg 9-11 September. Held simultaneously to the exhibition in Hall A4, the conference programme will feature experts from all fields of the industry discussing the status quo and the challenges and opportunities facing the cruise sector. “All major players of the industry have once again agreed to contribute to this year’s programme. We are expecting over 40 international speakers who will address the core topics of the sector,” says Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH, the organiser of Seatrade Europe.
Leading cruise industry executives to explore the future of the industry
The opening session on Wednesday 9 September will highlight “The State of the Industry in Europe”. The expert panel will include highly experienced cruise industry CEO’s from around the world: David Dingle (Carnival UK and Vice Chairman of CLIA Europe), Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio (Silversea Cruises), Wybcke Meier (TUI Cruises), Michael Thamm (Costa Crociere), Gianni Onorato (MSC Cruises) and Dominic Paul (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruise). They will explain how cruise lines are responding to the continued boom in Europe, the role of diversification within the sector, what new ships and routes are being planned, and how the infrastructure is evolving. The opening session will be chaired by the TV journalist Todd Benjamin who has been working for CNN for 26 years.
Fascinating insight: future ship design & river cruising
Current trends in hotel design are now being taken up also by many cruise vessels in construction. Advanced design merges functionality with creativity both on shore and on the water. “Passenger suites on board are becoming more liveable and individual,” says Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk, Managing Partner of JOI-Design Interior Architects. Joined by design experts Terry McGillicuddy (Richmond Designing Hospitality) and Harri Kulovaara (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.), she will host the workshop “Design for the Future” in the afternoon of 9 September, presenting new concepts for the cruise experience of the future.
The second session on opening day will focus on the river cruise segment. Speakers will shed light on the markets across continental Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, explore new opportunities in China and take a look at tomorrow’s trends.
Sustainable Growth in Cruise
On Thursday 10 September speakers will address the cruise industry from a variety of perspectives. In a morning panel discussion titled “Understanding the Cruise Industry: How Can the Pan European Dialogue Create a Platform for Sustainable Growth?”, representatives of cruise and port operators, the tourism industry and the European Commission will debate whether the cruise industry’s contribution to growth in Europe is receiving the recognition it deserves. The panel discussion “Finance for Ocean and River Cruise” will focus on the future financing requirements of the cruise industry and the available options to raise capital.
In the afternoon, the workshop “Cruise Itinerary & Shorex Development in Europe” will study recent developments in route planning, tour design and extended-season offerings within the European cruise industry. A concurrent event hosted by the global maritime environmental congress (gmec) titled “The Regulatory Framework for Cruise Operators in European Waters” will look at sustainability concepts for the cruise sector. Topics include implementation of the new sulphur limits effective in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, innovative safety features in ship design and alternative energy sources for cruise ships.
Marketing Strategies in Comparison
On Friday, 11 September, the final session of the conference programme will be a “European Source Market Roundtable”. In this interactive workshop, industry experts will examine the way the cruise sector markets itself across Europe, with a special focus on the marketing strategies of German and other national brands in comparison with those of other international cruise operators.
Second Suppliers’ Workshop
The conference programme will be supplemented by the second “Suppliers` Workshop” on Thursday, 10 September. Featuring the heads of the purchasing departments of Meyer Werft, Neptun and Meyer Turku Oy, this event provides a networking platform for shipyards building cruise ships and their suppliers while offering suppliers not currently engaged with the cruise industry an opportunity to enter this market. This workshop should be of particular interest for manufacturers and other providers from the hotel and restaurant outfitting, kitchen and laundry equipment sectors as well as the locking system, light and sound and IT industries. Other target audiences include full-concept providers for restaurants, theatres and other on-board facilities.
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