Sam Jones, mayor of Mobile, Ala., is scheduled to speak at the conference. In his city, $20 million was invested in a cruise terminal in 2004. But later, Carnival Cruise Lines moved the liner serving the city to New Orleans. Now, Mobile has the challenge of paying for a terminal no longer used for cruises.
John Hildreth, the director of the Charleston office of the National Trust, said the organization is not opposed to cruises. But, he said, cities and residents need to make sure rules are in place.
"The communities and the tourists alike benefit from proper management," he said.
Evan Thompson, executive director of the Preservation Society, said the conference will put Charleston in a global context.
"We want to build a network of the people who have been grappling with the various issues related to cruise ships in historic ports and people who can offer expertise as to what is the way forward," he said.