Dr. Maria Lekakou is Associate Professor in Maritime Economics in Department of Shipping, Trade and Transport, and Member of the Council of the University of the Aegean. She has a longstanding experience in passenger shipping and maritime policy, as Advisor to the Minister of Mercantile Marine (1996-2000) President of the Committee of “Development of Domestic Sea Transports’ System” (1998- 2002), a member of the National Regulatory Authority for Internal Maritime Transportation (2001-2004) and as a maritime expert in many national or European bodies (2007- ). Maria Lekakou has extensively examined maritime markets and is co- author of books examining European Maritime Policy, Greek shipping competitiveness island transports and cruise tourism and she has studied short-sea shipping policy developments, maritime tourism, cruise industry, passenger shipping, labour affairs as well as European policies related to liner shipping, cabotage, maritime competition and regional development. She has contributed over 60 peer reviewed papers to international scientific conferences or journals, and has participated in numerous R&D projects. She is a member of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) and a founding member of the Hellenic Association of Maritime Economists.