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Cruise Ships Still Visiting Greece Despite Refugee Crisis

Fira, Santorini.

Fira, Santorini.

Greece is growing into one of the most popular cruise travel destinations in the Mediterranean with the results for 2015 remaining steady and the outlook for 2016 appearing positive despite the refugee crisis, the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) said last week.

According to an ELIME report which was carried out at each port individually, 2015 marked a 12 percent rise in the number of cruise ship arrivals to Greek ports from 3,826 in 2014 to 4,279 in 2015.

“At ports/cruise destinations which are currently facing the refugee crisis, variations were noted; there was an increase at Rhodes and Chios, a steady rate at Mytilene and a drop at Kos and Samos,” said ELIME executive manager Georgios Castellanos, referring to the statistics for 2015.

Mr Castellanos expressed his optimism over the report’s assessment that “Greece has become a major cruise destination, with all this entails for port income and the national economy in general”.

At the same time, the number of incoming cruise passengers to Greek ports is now at 5,000,000, establishing Greece as a third force for cruise travel in the Mediterranean. The top 10 destinations are Piraeus, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Katakolon, Rhodes, Heraklion, Kefalonia-Ithaka, Patmos and Chania-Souda. Ports gaining ground are those of Volos, Lavrion, Thessaloniki, Chios, Itea, Skiathos and Limnos.

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