Extending the tourism season, improving the overall tourist experience, boosting private investments, a steady tax framework and the upgrade of port infrastructure are the basic prerequisites if Greece wishes to develop its cruise sector potential, said Kostis Achladitis, representing the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry at this week’s Greek Tourism Expo.
Addressing the ongoing 4th International Tourism Fair – Greek Tourism Expo held at the Metropolitan Expo in Athens through to December 10, Achladitis, also managing director at Golden Cargo, underlined the need to restore the cruise industry’s performance which has been declining in recent years.
A top priority for Achladitis is modernizing ports at Greek islands so that they can cater to larger vessels. Currently only the ports of Corfu and Piraeus can handle sizeable liners. If Greek ports don’t upgrade, they will miss out even more as companies now adding bigger cruise ships to their fleet will not include Greek destinations on their itineraries, he said.
Achladitis went on to add that extending the tourism season was vital but it also required improving the mainland experience offered to cruise travelers when they disembark at ports. This, he said, requires cooperation between cruise companies, local authorities and businesses.
Achladitis went on to reiterate the position of other cruise sector experts that a steady tax framework must be in place and bureaucratic hurdles must be overcome in order to attract private investments, and concluded with the need to upgrade infrastructure of Greek ports belonging to the Trans-European Transport Network, including Piraeus, in view of the increasing use of LNG by new cruise ships.