“The main reason Greece has failed to collect from cruises is the low use of Greek ports as homeports,” according to a recent study of the National Bank of Greece on cruise on a European and national level.
Althought Greece is among the most popular cruise destinations in the Mediterranean that attracts some 17 percent of visitors from European ports in a global market of more than 20 million tourists, the actual benefits for the national economy are on a low level.
In 2011, Greece’s annual benefit from cruise was merely 600 million euros (four percent) of the 15 billion euros of profits from cruise at a European level.
Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni verified last month that the development of cruises in Greece was one of the government’s top priorities.
“It will upgrade the domestic tourism product and provide significant revenue by boosting the local markets and national economy,” the tourism minister said following a meeting with Shipping and Aegean Minister Kostas Mousouroulis.
The two ministers discussed the necessary synergies between the Tourism Ministry and the Shipping and Aegean Ministry.
They focused on the complete lifting of cabotage restrictions and the upgrading of port infrastructure to meet the standards of international competition.
Mrs. Kefalogianni also recently held a meeting with Piraeus Mayor Vassilis Michaloliakos and referred to the promotion of Greece’s largest port as a homeport for international cruise ships.
Special reference was also made in regards to promoting Athens and Piraeus as top choice tourism destinations and not just stopover destinations to go to the islands.