Celestyal Cruises, one of the leading cruise lines serving the Aegean islands, has announced plans to focus on the Greek and the Turkish markets in 2018 by extending the season and offering longer stays to more destinations.
The company’s goal is to be able to organize cruises in Greece year round by 2020.
Furthermore, the company is considering to revise its strategy and even exit the Cuban market by 2020.
“The current Trump policy regarding tourism from the US to Cuba appears negative,” Celestyal Cruises CEO Kerry Anastassiadis told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. “The Greek market remains Celestyal’s priority… If we have to withdraw from Cuba in order to further expand our activities in Greece we will certainly do so,” he underlined.
During the last two years, the company has been promoting new Greek destinations, such as Milos, Chios and Ios. Celestyal will extend the 2018 season by two weeks, while in 2019 the company is planning to increase departures by 12 percent.
Celestyal enters new markets
The company’s dependence on the US market has decreased from 60 percent in 2014 to 20 percent in 2017. “We have managed to enter new markets, such as Spain, Germany, France, China, Brazil and Australia, while 20% of our passengers are Greeks and Turks,” Anastasiadis said adding that the Turkish market has great potential. “If we could bring just 1 percent of the Turkish population on cruise to Greece, Celestyal Cruises would have to double its fleet,” he added.
The company is also planning to resume its Instabul itineraries, as soon as geopolitical stability returns and travelers overcome their hesitation.
Overtourism and the role of cruise travel
Anastasiades also referred to overtourism and the role of the cruise sector. “In the last two-three years we have heard negative messages regarding the impact of the cruise sector in some destinations. There are currently 1.3 billion people goining on vacation every year worldwide. The number of cruise travelers is just 25 million. The cruise sector could not be responsible for the effects of overtourism… it is unthinkable,” Anastasiades said.
In 2017, Celestyal Cruises carried 100,000 passengers and conducted 598,000 port calls on the Aegean islands, operating two ships. The company’s total contribution to the Greek economy reached 103 million euros.
In 2018 the company expects to increase the number of passengers by 15 percent. Its goal is also to increase sales by 50 percent in the European and Asian markets and by 10 percent in the US market.