Dear Partners and Friends of the Danube,
Planning under such extraordinary conditions continues to be an uncertain undertaking. The roller-coaster ride with peaks and troughs ranging from helplessness, vulnerability, irritation, the feeling of not being listened to, and hoping for a miracle has left its mark on us all. Against the background of liberalisation of restrictions and prospects for a rebound, we want to offer the branch a podium to discuss subjects of current interest and look ahead to the future.
The theme of this year‘s conference is ‚The new normal and the future of river cruises‘.
No other sector of the economy was dealt such a massive blow by the Corona pandemic as travel and tourism. Now as we look forward to a return to normality after months of standstill it is important for us to schedule our meeting, which had been postponed several times, right at the start of the 2022 season. We want to encourage the branch and give it a boost. And we want to confront the challenges that face us with renewed confidence.
Now, virtually overnight, all our lives have changed once again. Russia‘s unjustified and premeditated invasion of Ukraine puts shared values and common ground to a hard test, not just in Europe but globally. War in Europe - in the Danube‘s front yard no less - was unimaginable; it leaves us feeling bewildered and powerless.
Is it possible that the recovery we have hoped for so long and the return to normality, which we have prepared for, will wither? One thing is abundantly clear, we have become vulnerable and dependent.
Courage and confidence are thus more important than ever. That is what our forthcoming meeting in Regensburg is all about: our powerful network thrives on encounter and the exchange of views. Above all, our sights must be set firmly on the future.
We wish you all an enjoyable stay in Regensburg, and successful networking for our common future.
Thanking you for taking part and your continued confidence, we remain
Prof. Gerhard Skoff Marco von Dobschütz-Dietl