The Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Ministry plans to table a law in Parliament soon and fully lift cabotage restrictions for non-European Union flag cruise ships, the Greek press said recently.
Experts in the tourism sector said they were satisfied that the regulation that previously obliged international cruise companies to sign a contract with the government in order to homeport in Greece would be abolished.
The specific regulation, characterized as a “Greek originality,” had discouraged cruise companies and agreements to homeport in Greece were avoided.
A previous regulation that set time restrictions for cruise ships to stay in each Greek port is also said to be abolished.
In addition, the Piraeus Port Authority recently decided that Greece’s “first-come first-served” system for assigning berths would also be eliminated. The authority said an organized berthing system for booking berths would be introduced as demanded by cruise companies.
It is estimated that once cabotage restrictions are lifted, Greek finances would be boosted by one billion euros per year. However, according to tourism experts, the benefits from the new law would be evident in 2013 as this year’s cruise schedules are “already planned out.”