A record 6.6 million Europeans took to the seas in 2015, with an additional 200,000 opting to take a cruise for their holidays compared to last year, marking a 3 percent rise, but the Greek market saw a 14 percent drop with less than 16,000 preferring to take a cruise, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) revealed during the Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 fair taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week.
“We hope that the Greek market will gradually return to growth after the political and economic situation in our country has stabilized,” Celestyal Cruises CEO and CLIA Europe Executive Committee member Kyriakos Anastasiadis said.
According to an industry report, in the 2004-2014 period, cruise holidays worldwide became more popular than vacationing on the mainland by a margin greater than 20 percent. The European cruise market, meanwhile, has grown by 49 percent since 2008, demonstrating both the resilience of the industry in a time of recession and the added value offered by cruise travel.
“To ensure future growth, we invite European policymakers to continue to work towards a friendlier business environment. We especially need their support for the reform of the current European VISA regime so as to encourage more tourists to visit Europe. The cruise industry also needs more consistent implementation of EU environmental legislation as well as reform measures for ports across the continent in order to prevent operational barriers in European waters,” CLIA Europe president and MSC Cruises CLIA Europe executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said.