Adventour Begins at The MedCruise 63rd General Assembly in Burgas
Author: Katarina Komazec, the Founder of Adventour Begins
One of the most important events for the cruise industry took place along the shores of the Black Sea, in charming Burgas, Bulgarian’s oldest port and the country’s 4th largest city. The three busy days from the 10th to 13th of October 2023 were packed with activities: from informative panel sessions that brought together the cruise industry experts, to highly productive B2B meetings, dinners, and fam trips to Burgas’ popular tourist destinations.
The 63rd MedCruise General Assembly gathered numerous dignitaries, among which were the representatives of the Bulgarian government and the hosts from the Port of Burgas, port and associate members, cruise lines executives, media representatives, and travel experts. Mrs. Katarina Komazec, the Founder of adventourbegins.com, attended the event as a travel expert and part of the international media press.
In her official opening speech, Mrs. Figen Ayan, President of MedCruise, said: “This General Assembly is reflecting exactly what our industry is strong for: resilience no matter what the storms and getting together even if we are far from each other”.
Her words reflect not only the importance of the gatherings of cruise industry experts, but they are the essence of the cruise industry: staying together no matter the challenges, working together toward a better future, and creating a better environment for all parties.
The event, including the panel sessions, was held in the new International Congress Center of Burgas, located on a scenic spot overlooking the vast Port of Burgas. There were many topics that involved the major areas of the cruise industry such as:
- Port investment and development
- The impact of geopolitical risks on cruise regions and ports, with an emphasis on evaluating the risks and providing a safe and secure environment
- Strengthening the cruise destination through port-city relations and the engagement of the local community
- Developing a must-see destination for cruises, taking into account the socio-economic impact of cruises on the destinations and local community
- A presentation and analysis of the survey on onshore power supply and waste management led by MedCruise
- The importance of Blue Mission Med for MedCruise, an EU project dedicated to restoring water and ocean
- The Ealing Project – European flagship action for cold ironing in port
When it comes to developing ports and cruise destinations, the speakers stressed the importance of infrastructure and bringing together governments, local and port authorities, tour operators, and cruise lines. Communication, collaboration, and mutual understanding are the keys to delivering outstanding results in terms of both port and cruise destination development.
In addition, the speakers addressed the accessibility of a port, safety and security, and marketing promotion as important factors in developing ports into thriving cruise destinations.
You can read more about the topics and speakers on MedCruise’s official website.
As part of the programme, the hosts have organized fam trips to Burgas’ most popular tourist destinations, with the aim of familiarizing the attendees with what Burgas as a destination has to offer.
We had a chance to visit the ancient city of Nessebar, nestled along the Black Sea Coast in the vicinity of Sunny Beach, one of Bulgaria’s most visited resorts. Nessebar boasts an impressive 3,000-year-old history and the town itself is a living museum. Its UNESCO-listed old town is known for its Archaeological Museum, where you can discover the fascinating history and artifacts dating back to the 6th century BC. Nessebar is also famous for a large number of medieval Orthodox churches dating back to the 10th century.
We got the chance to visit a few of these churches, including the Church of St. Stephen, now transformed into a museum, featuring remarkable frescoes and icons from the 10th century. We explored the winding, cobblestone streets of the old town, before heading to St. Vlas marina where we indulged in the local fish specialties and delicious wine.
The second fam trip was organized to Saint Anastasia Island, a scenic little island that covers a territory of only one hectare and is known for its rich history and numerous legends and mysteries associated with it. The island was named after the former St.Anastasia convent which was founded in the Middle Ages and existed until 1923 when the island was transformed into a prison. Today, the monastery building hosts a museum where we learned about the patron saint of the island, the island’s history, and the Black Sea sea life.
The last place we visited was Chengene Skele, a cultural and tourist complex also known as a Fisherman port or just Chengeneto. After the expansion of the port of Burgas in 1972, the boats of the local fishermen were moved to this village, and three artificial canals were built, housing their shacks and boats. We visited the workshops and the museum where we heard stories about fisherman’s traditions, customs and everyday life. In addition, we saw exhibitions and glass-making demonstrations, before heading to a local restaurant to enjoy the local specialties based on old recipes.
On my YouTube Channel, you can watch the 63rd MedCruise General Assembly overview, which includes visiting these amazing destinations!
Overall, the entire event organized by the MedCruise Association and the Port of Burgas was highly productive, motivating, and one-of-a-kind. We got to experience the Bulgarian culture, make business connections, meet cruise industry experts, and above all – make new friends.
Thank you, MedCruise, and see you in Tarragona next year!