The Greek cruise market showed signs of recovery last year with an impressive 10 percent increase in domestic passengers, after two years of sharp decline due to the country’s on-going economic difficulties, according to Europe passenger figures for 2014. Last year, 18,441 Greeks took cruises.
The data was released today by CLIA (Cruise Lines Association) Europe during the 31st Cruise Shipping Miami conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
According to CLIA Europe, the cruise product still remains unknown to many Greeks, who are more used to taking ferries in order to reach island destinations where they spend their holidays.
However, it was underlined that the Greek cruise market is highly concentrated in terms of destination and transit passengers with approximately 90 percent of the market historically accounted for by Mediterranean/Black Sea cruises.
Commenting on the Europe passenger figures for 2014 , Kyriakos Anastasiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises and member of the Executive Committee CLIA Europe, said that for another year cruise follows a dynamic growth and positive performance.
“The recovery of Greek tourism has affected the cruise sector in our country and according to date estimates for 2015, it appears that it will be a good year in number of visitors and passengers”, he said.
Mr. Anastasiadis added that homeporting ships are expected to increase in Greece by some 20 percent.
The number of Europeans taking a cruise holiday has reached an all-time high
However, CLIA Europe observed that this year’s 0.5 percent growth rate may look disappointing compared to last year’s (four percent).
“The factors behind the reduction in the industry’s growth rate include a decrease in capacity in the Med and the continuing economic difficulties throughout much of the EU,” CLIA Europe says.
The number of Europeans choosing a cruise holiday has increased by 44 percent since 2008, when the economic downturn began (4.42 million passengers in 2008, 6.39 million passengers in 2014). The industry has enjoyed growth year-on-year.
Germany has become Europe’s first source market with 1.77 million passengers in 2014, increasing by five percent, mostly due to capacity increases from German cruise lines AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises GmbH. France has also achieved impressive growth (13.7 percent), consolidating itself as Europe’s fourth largest source market.
“While the year-on-year growth rate has considerably slowed down compared to previous years, it is remarkable that more Europeans than ever chose a cruise holidays in 2014 in spite of the continuing challenging economic conditions” CLIA Europe said.
According to the association, National and European policy-makers can help ensure the further growth of Europe’s tourism sector by fostering a favorable business environment. Examples:
– Adoption a smart, flexible visa code that facilitates the entry of legitimate third-country tourists into Europe.
– Draft environmental legislation that is workable, set on realistic targets and harmonized in a uniform way across the EU.
– Upgrade port infrastructure across the Continent to ensure that every major port can adequately cope with the industry’s needs.
– Invest in infrastructure connecting cruise terminals and the hinterland to improve tourists’ experiences in the ports and destinations that they visit and better capture the economic benefits generated by cruise tourism.
For 30 years, Cruise Shipping Miami (March 16-19) has been the leading international exhibition and conference serving the cruise industry by bringing together buyers and suppliers for a week of networking, sourcing, innovation and education. Last year, nearly 2,000 cruise line owners and operators from 66 companies attended.