According to the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), the sustainability of cruise activity in Europe is currently under pressure.
European ports take the concerns expressed very seriously. The vicinity to Europe’s cultural heritage and main must-sees makes many European port cities attractive tourist destinations. Their ports are or have become much demanded cruise ports. Afloat adds see reports on Cobh (Cork) in addition the Port of Venice and where the Italian city, BBC reports of its highest tide in 50 years.
European port managing bodies are happy to be an access gate to Europe’s cultural heritage, but understand that they must do whatever is possible within their remit to keep this activity sustainable and acceptable for the local population.
Over the last months, ESPO’s Cruise and Ferry Port Network has been reflecting on the way forward. The result is a statement that aims to explain how important it is for European ports to keep all their port activities sustainable and what can be done to enhance a balanced development of cruise activities in European ports.
“Given the current pressure on the cruise business in European ports, it is important for port managing bodies to make things clear. The cruise discussion cannot be reduced to a yes/no. European ports are mission driven, combine commercial and wider societal responsibilities. All activities in the port must be considered from that perspective, also cruise. Even if the tourism saturation issue might be different from port to port, all ports believe that the environmental footprint of any cruise activity must be kept as small as possible. The greening of the shipping sector must take place, and cruise lines should step up their efforts to achieve this. Moreover, dialogue with the cruise lines, the local community and the tourist destinations are at the centre of a balanced development of the cruise business in Europe. Finally, we believe that being more transparent about added value and externalities is instrumental for ports to maintain their license to operate,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.
The ESPO statement can be found here.
The ESPO Cruise and Ferry Port Network was established in 2014. It gathers port representatives of ESPO’s passenger committee and all the European regional cruise port organisations and is based on a cooperation agreement which aimed at establishing ESPO as the official voice of the cruise and ferry ports towards the EU policy makers.
In 2014, the Network started to work on a Code of Good Practices for Cruise and Ferry ports that was published in June 2016.