Cruise passengers to Greece recorded a 5 percent increase in 2016, making it a ”good year” for the industry compared to 2015, the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) said last week.
Indicatively, a total of 4,290 cruise vessels called in to Greek ports compared to 4.281 in 2015, while passenger arrivals last year reached 5,197,118 compared to 4,957,743 in 2015.
The Cycladic island of Santorini followed with 572 cruise ship arrivals in 2016 compared to 636 in 2015, welcoming 783,893 passenger in 2016 against 791,927 in 2015.
The Ionian island of Corfu also saw an increase coming third, with 481 cruise ship port calls in 2016 compared to 407 in 2015, and 748,916 passengers in 2016 against 647,347 a year before.
Meanwhile the port of Lavrio in southeastern Attica appears to be on an upward trend for the third year running with 65 cruise ship arrivals in 2016, 55 in 2015 and 30 in 2014. Cruise traffic there is expected to increase given plans for a suburban railway (proastiakos) link connecting it with the Greek capital and Athens airport as of 2019. The municipality is aiming to launch the tender for the project this year. A total of 43,236 cruise passengers visited Lavrio in 2016 compared to 44,815 in 2015 and 30.493 in 2014.
The ports of Souda on Crete, Zakynthos and Kythera also saw an increase of calls last year.
On the downside, the island of Lesvos, bearing the brunt of the refugee influx primarily from Turkey, saw a decline with only 29 port calls and 13,923 passengers against 53 το 2015 and 24,894 visitors.
On a final note, ELIME is in agreement with local industry insiders who are speaking of a decline in traffic for 2017.