The importance of making Greece a home port for luxury liners, securing strategic investments that will lead to the upgrade of port and tourism facilities, as well as extending the tourist season are crucial to a robust cruise travel sector and increased revenue, according to findings by Athens-based research firm diaNEOsis.
DiaNEOsis’ report notes that most Greek ports are unable to cater to the needs of larger vessels, which translates into more passengers and that despite being the fourth most popular destination in Europe, Greece is ranked eighth in terms of cruise travel-related earnings, accounting for 10 percent of all incoming tourists and only 3 percent of total revenue.
Indicatively, the number of passengers per cruise in the 2010-2016 period increased in the Mediterranean by 23 percent as companies introduced larger ships. The same figure in Greece came to 6 percent as most of its ports can not accommodate larger liners.
Besides the upgrade and expansion of ports and facilities, the diaNEOsis report underlines the need to improve the traveler port and stopover experience, develop collaborations with municipal and local authorities as well as with airports, and improve the conditions for investments in the sector.
The survey concludes that efforts should initially focus on the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Iraklion on Crete, which meet the basic home porting requirements and have great potential for immediate improvement.
The Mediterranean is the second largest market after the Caribbean welcoming over 7.5 millions passengers per year. More than 2 million travelers on 4,300 cruises go through 42 Greek ports annually leaving behind revenue to the tune of 489 million euros (in 2015).
So far, only the ports of Piraeus, Corfu, Rhodes, Heraklion, Lavrio and Thessaloniki have served or continue to operate as home ports out of 42.