Nicky Guerrero, Secretary General of MedCruise – Ioannis Pappas, GSTC – Figen Ayan, President of MedCruise – Giancarlo Tereisi, Sicily Region – Sascha Gill, CLIA

The 1st BlueMissionMed Mediterranean Stakeholder Forum took place in Palermo, Italy from 29th to 30th May, along with representatives from GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) and CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association).

Ms. Ayan took part in three events being held during and alongside the event. On the first day, the President took part in the BlueMissionMed Common Ground Camp For The Mediterranean Lighthouse Side Event, organised by the Bluemissionmed Coordination and Support Action, in the Palazzo Chiaramonte (Steri), Rettorato Università degli Studi di Palermo. This was a multistakeholder cooperation and business leadership questions and answer session.

On the second day, Ms. Ayan took part in the thematic interactive sessions running in parallel in two different rooms on the same floor in Palazzo dei Normanni. Each session was chaired by two facilitators. The first session was designed as an inspiring and informative session from sectoral stakeholders. MedCruise was asked to chair a table on the subject of Ports and Shipping by BlueMissionMed.

The President delivered a presentation looking at key aspects to implement the Mission Lighthouse by identifying concrete actions (the what and how) for each category. 

A presentation was then delivered alongside MedCruise by Dr. Ioannis Pappas of GSTC and by Mr. Sascha Gill of CLIA. These three interventions were a great opportunity to pass a message on to the EU Commission and Community of Stakeholders engaged in the Mission of restoring our Ocean and Waters. The session concluded with a BMM Stakeholder forum debate supported by interactive online tools.

In the afternoon Ms. Ayan took part in the MISSION ‘RESTORE OUR OCEAN AND WATERS BY 2030’- THE MEDITERRANEAN LIGHTHOUSE IN ACTION. This high-level event was organised by the European Commission in close cooperation with the Italian government, the Sicily Region, and the University of Palermo, with the support of the BlueMissionMed Coordination and Support Action. 

The event was an opportunity to witness the political commitments of the Mediterranean countries towards the Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters ( and to present the actions and initiatives which contribute to the Mission objectives that may be scaled up and replicated in other sea basins. 

The event welcomed stakeholders from the Mediterranean basin, international and sea basin intergovernmental organisations as well as representatives from regions, cities, ports, islands, shipping, industries, academia, education, researchers, investors, NGOs, citizens, and youth. 

The program included demonstrations of EU projects contributing to the Mission’s objectives, a celebration of coalitions of cities and regions as well as a Blue Islands ceremony, with exchanges of best practices, awards to islands championing the Mission, and with solid participation from youth and blue schools. 

At this event Ms. Ayan spoke of the actions of the Mediterranean lighthouse communities, reporting from the 1st BlueMissionMed Stakeholder Forum for Mission Ocean & Waters from earlier in the day.

Dr. Ioannis Pappas of GSTC said, “It was really a great pleasure for GSTC to participate in this important event, contributing of the discussion with stakeholders on Sustainable Cruise and Ports. In GSTC we believe on collaboration means towards a more sustainable future via managing our Destinations and implementing good practices and criteria. Following that route, GSTC innovates together with MedCruise on the development of a new Initiative called SCALE which represents a Sustainable Cruise Alliance Platform, which will contribute on this global dialogue towards Net Zero future.”

Dr Sascha Gill of CLIA said, “Our members have diligently worked the past 25 years on developing sustainable practices. Today we are in the forefront of organised tourism solutions, which can adapt with timely precision on resource and sustainability challenges. We have a clearly laid out  pathway for Net Zero in 2050, and will use the time to engage through technology, stakeholder dialogue and research to ensure we meet each goal as fast as possible.”

Ms Figen Ayan, President of MedCruise said, “Our participation in this event and in the Mission is a testament to MedCruise’s ambitious, holistic and inclusive sustainable approach. We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to share the table on Ports and Shipping and the feedback we received was very encouraging. One of the main issues discussed is that we know that one solution for all is not applicable for our cruise ports, as we are composed of large ports, boutique or also islands. We hope that a certification system will be implemented and that the efforts of all our port members to create sustainable, eco-conscious destinations no matter what their volume is will be recognised and accepted accordingly. Thank you to GSTC for being a key partner and Mr. Ioannis Pappas for his dedication and hard work on this instrumental collaboration. Thank you also to CLIA and Mr Sascha Gill for his valuable input and for the support of CLIA.”


About MedCruise 

The mission of MedCruise is to promote the cruise industry in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas. The Association assists its members in benefiting from the growth of the cruise industry by providing networking, promotional, as well as professional development opportunities.

Established in Rome on the 11th of June 1996, by a collaborative agreement between 16 ports in seven different countries, the MedCruise membership spreads today in 22 countries, and is located in three different continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. MedCruise represents more than 150 ports and 47 associate members.

More information here: ​​ 

About GSTC 

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organisation that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

Information for media and the press: 

 About the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. On behalf of the industry, together with its members and partners, the organisation supports policies and practices that foster a secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment, as well as promote positive travel experiences for the more than 30 million passengers who cruise annually. The CLIA community includes the world’s most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports and destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services. The organisation’s global headquarters are in Washington, DC, with regional offices located in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. For more information, visit or or follow CLIA on Facebook, Twitter and   LinkedIn

About BlueMissionMed 

BlueMissionMed will Inspire, Inform, Assess, Mobilise, Connect and Empower all the actors that can Take a Role in preventing and eliminating pollution in the Mediterranean sea and waters.