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Lacking Port Infrastructure Hampers Greece’s Cruise Tourism Potential

Posidonia_DSC_6365Greece has failed to benefit from the exponential growth of Europe’s cruise market as investment in port infrastructure required to cater to cruise liners has declined by a whopping 80 percent over the course of the last 10 years, according to experts debating the potential of sea tourism for Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean during the 3rd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum that concluded in Athens on Wednesday.

Cruiseship at the Mykonos Port. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Cruiseship at Mykonos Port. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Only a few of Greece’s 1,150 ports and port-like structures have the adequate basic facilities to cater to the cruise liners and even less can accommodate the mega vessels of 4,000 passengers which have been sailing since 1996 and still cannot be berthed almost anywhere in Greece.

And while the port of Piraeus is planning a tender for a 136 million euros project for the construction of quay walls and berths for the accommodation of three new generation cruise vessels, Greece has still much to do in order to leverage its undisputed competitive advantages and establish itself as a global cruise hub.

“Tourism is Greece and Greece is tourism,” said Michel Nestour, Vice President, Destination Development, Carnival Corporation PLc, the world’s largest group of cruise companies.

“Greece has failed to leverage its natural beauty and ideal location because it lacks in basic infrastructure not just at its few ports but also in road transportation as well as flight connections with key feeder markets which are necessary in order to attract the big cruise liners,” said Mr. Nestour.

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GTP is a media sponsor of this year’s Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum.

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