MedCruise Opens in Kusadasi

Airam Pastor, president of MedCruise and commercial director for the Port of Tenerife

The 54th General Assembly of MedCruise opened on Tuesday evening in Kusadasi, Turkey, with an over-arching theme focusing on the return of the Eastern Mediterranean.

“I want to congratulate every single member for the great performance last year,” said Airam Pastor, president of MedCruise and commercial director for the Port of Tenerife, noting a strong 2018 season.

Having Kusadasi play host to the event is also key, showing off the relevance of Turkey as a destination as cruise lines continue to race to add the country back to their itineraries.

Turkey went from a total of 2.5 million cruise guests annually down to just about 200,000, noted Aziz Gungor, general manager for the Kusadasi port (Ege Ports).

The country is now on the cruise comeback trail, with more luxury and niche lines adding calls in 2019 and 2020, and the megaship brands also expected back in short order.

“After two difficult years we are slowly recovering,” said Gungor. “This year we will have about 200 calls. We used to have 700, and this is a good recovery.”

He predicted traffic to return to normal levels by 2021.

With the opening ceremony in the books, the conference now turns to the details, with a handful of immersive conference sessions scheduled this week as MedCruise continues to define itself as a community to share best practices and promote the entire Mediterranean as a prime cruise destination.

MedCruise is the largest port association in the cruise industry, covering the Canary Islands to the Red Sea, including members in the Western Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean Sea, Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean,

On hand for MedCruise this week are port members, tour operators and cruise line executives.

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