The Marine Hotel Association (MHA) has announced its plan to launch a bi-annual European conference and trade show event, the first of which will take place in Barcelona, from November 3-5, 2010.

MHA president Joseph Lavi of Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed that the board had made the decision to move forward with plans for a 2010 event, noting that this had been a topic of board meeting discussions over the years: "It became clear that MHA was ready to expand the scope of its activities and acknowledge that Europe has become a significant segment for both the industry and our own membership in recent years.  

Our trade show continues to reflect the growing global focus that we've seen emerge over the past several years. In fact, the international segment of our membership shows an increase of 25% over the past two years, reminding us that we can no longer ignore the fact that our future path must pay homage to the increasingly global focus of our industry.

We are constantly seeking ways to take things up a notch and it is clear that MHA must continue to move forward, evolving and becoming increasingly international in both its spirit and actions. And remember, there is no profit motive here for MHA, only the desire to bring as much benefit as we can to this industry as a whole through our associatio's membership services and related activities.

At the heart of this new venture are the many European cruise lines, river boats and ferries that to date have not been a part of the Marine Hotel Association's annual gathering on this side of the pond. We want to create a second forum which would bring the resources that MHA has to offer a little closer to home -- not only as it relates to a conference and trade show event, but also in terms of the opportunities for staff training through our scholarship courses in Europe."

While the focus of the new venture is to expand opportunities for European cruise lines, ferries and vendors that have to date not been involved with the Marine Hotel Association, the event will be open to all its current members.  

Accommodations at the Hotel Arts, host hotel for the inaugural event, will be made available for three days pre and post convention, so that attendees may extend their stay and have time to enjoy the complete Barcelona experience.