More cruise industry heavyweights sign up to speak at niche event in Istanbul , as Turkey focuses on growing its share of the global cruise market.

Graeme Adams, VP – Voyage Planning, Port & Land Programmes, SeaDream Yacht Club, Captain Vassilios Gazikas, Senior General Manager, Marine Operations, Louis Cruises and Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Port & Destination Development, Carnival Corporation have recently been added to the prestigious speaker line-up at the 2nd Seatrade Winter Cruising Forum, being held in less than seven weeks in Istanbul, Turkey.

The event’s conference will feature a timely focus on Turkey as a cruise tourism hub linking Europe to Asia. Turkey recently demonstrated a strong commitment to its relationship with the industry, with the Minister of Transport, Binali Yıldırım, attending a meeting in Izmir with the heads of fourteen Turkish cruise ports to discuss the continued development of cruise tourism in the country. Port authority delegates at the meeting, organised by Izmir’s Chamber of Commerce, supported a proposal to form a ports association.

With higher fuel costs making it less economical to transport passengers to Caribbean cruise ports, the number of cruise ships plying Mediterranean waters in both summer and winter months over the next few years is likely to surge. The concept of winter cruising is not without challenges; sound itinerary planning and weather-proof shorex options are essential, but as more vessels are deployed out of traditional summer seasons, there is great scope for growth.

Numerous high-level itinerary planners and marine operations decision-makers are already scheduled to speak in Istanbul, with the recently announced additions bringing the total of cruise brands represented to thirteen. The event’s workshop sessions will give participating destinations an invaluable chance to meet one-to-one with speakers hosting workshop tables, all of whom are directly involved in deployment decisions for their brand.

The 2nd Seatrade Winter Cruising Forum will take place under the auspices of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Tura Turizm at the Çıragan Palace Kempinski from 5-7 December 2011. More information on the event can be found at www.wintercruisingforum.com.