The islands of Milos, Samos, Ios, Syros, Chios, Symi and Kos are scheduled to be included in cruise itineraries for the following year in efforts to win over the rapidly growing cruise market, local media reports.
In this direction, the Shipowners Association of Cruise Ships and Shipping Agencies is currently in talks so that investments and plans for the further development of relevant infrastructure is in place in order to cater to large capacity incoming luxury liners.
Projects at the ports of Patra, Corfu, Katakolo, Igoumenitsa, Patmos, Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion are already in the pipeline, and companies are looking to include a large part of the eastern Peloponnese among their new destinations.
A total of 42 Europe-based cruise companies operating 123 liners contribute over 40.2 billion euros to the European economy with a mere 500 million euros going to Greek coffers. According to sector insiders, investments in port infrastructure have dropped by 80 percent in the last decade, with Greece unable to tap into and benefit from the rapid growth of the cruise market in Europe. Very few of the 1,150 Greek ports, most of them with basic infrastructure, have sufficient facilities to welcome cruise ships with a 4,000-plus passenger capacity.