Coastal development and sustainable maritime tourism are the focus themes of this year’s edition of European Maritime Day. For two days in Valletta, Malta, experts from all maritime sectors and from all over Europe will discuss how to drive the tourism industry forward and maintain its position not only as a sector for sustainable growth, but also as a crucial driver for the wider economy and a key contributor to the EU’s Blue Growth agenda.
Every year on May 20 ‘maritime Europe’ is celebrated within the European Union to showcase the importance of the seas and oceans for our everyday life. The European Maritime Day conference is now the place where stakeholders from all maritime sectors meet and discuss opportunities and challenges for the maritime regions and sectors across Europe. The theme for this year’s conference is “Coastal development and sustainable maritime tourism: an investment for blue growth”.
Tourism is the largest sector of the maritime industry, providing employment for 2.35 million people and producing over €100bn value added to the EU economy every year. Crucially, the sector has remained remarkably resilient over the last few difficult years and continues to offer employment opportunities in coastal regions which are often isolated and which may not have extensive economic activities elsewhere. But seasonality and a lack of new, innovative concepts keep it from delivering its full potential in terms of growth and jobs.
The 6th edition of European Maritime Day will explore the road towards innovative and sustainable forms of tourism. Discussions will feed into a Communication by the European Commission on Coastal and Maritime Tourism scheduled for later this year. Issues specific to islands, such as connectivity and mobility, will also be at the heart of the Conference, while specific working groups will be devoted to the future of the cruise sector, marine and coastal management and the economic development of the Mediterranean Sea basin.
Dr Edward Zammit-Lewis, the Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth will kick off these celebrations on Sunday 19 May, with several public events in and around Valletta showcasing the diversity of the sea: maritime research, threats to the marine environment, fishing, shipping, ports, marine national parks, energy and so on. Most of the events happening on the 19th and 20th May are free of charge.
On May 21, the conference will be opened by high-level keynote speakers including Ms Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Karmenu Vella, Maltese Minister for Tourism, Dr Chris Cardona, Malta’s Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, and Ms Catharina Elmsäter–Svärd, Swedish Minister of Infrastructure. The other plenary sessions will be chaired by politicians, experts and CEOs and will discuss current challenges and opportunities for the maritime economy and for Blue Growth. The day will end with a concert by internationally renowned tenor Joseph Calleja.
May 22 is Stakeholders’ Day: 19 different workshops on as many with topics, for all conference participants to pick and choose. A wide range of policy initiatives related to seas and oceans will be discussed. Exhibition booths will also be set up at the venue and exhibitors will showcase the seas and oceans and the possibilities they offer. More events are being held all over Europe.
European Maritime Day is a unique opportunity to gather the whole maritime community in one place, take stock of progress and focus minds on ideas and priorities ahead.
The 6th edition of the European Maritime Day Conference will be held in Valletta (Malta) on 21 and 22 May 2013. It is organised by the European Commission (Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) in partnership with the Maltese Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, and the Maltese Ministry for Tourism.
Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Mr Karmenu Vella, Maltese Minister for Tourism and Dr Chris Cardona, Maltese Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Business will join other European ministers and personalities at the Conference.
European Maritime Day was created by a tripartite declaration by the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on 20 May 2008. It is celebrated every year on and around 20 May and aims to raise the visibility of Maritime Europe. The previous editions of European Maritime Day were held in Brussels (2008), Rome (2009), Gijon (2010), Gdansk (2011) and Gothenburg (2012) respectively.