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Crete Examines Yachting Potential Under iBLUE Program

Photo © Anthony Kitsopoulos

Photo © Anthony Kitsopoulos

Crete officials are exploring ways to tap into the potential of yachting and luxury boating during a three-day event which kicked off on Wednesday at Agios Nikolaos for the implementation of the EU-backed iBLUE project.

Organized by the Lasithi Chamber, a member of iBLUE, with the participation of the Crete Region, the three-day event focuses on iBLUE findings on ways to invest in sustainable blue growth and competitiveness.

Photo © Maria Paravantes

The iBLUE project provides a systematic collection of data about yachting in the Mediterranean and the creation of a Med yachting transnational network for sharing knowledge.

“Sea tourism, and in particular, that which involves recreational craft is an area that must be developed on the island as it is aimed at higher-income visitors, has a long duration and generates increased revenue for the host communities,” said Crete Tourism Commissioner Michalis Vamiedakis.

The commissioner went on to note however, that Crete has thus far failed to move ahead with the development of yachting tourism due in large part to lagging infrastructure, lack of qualified personnel, a complicated taxation framework and a difficult economic climate.

“Crete meets all the prerequisites to develop, even under these difficult conditions, this form of tourism, by making targeted and coordinated interventions,” he said.

Agios Nikolaos, Crete Photo Source: Municipality of Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos, Crete Photo Source: Municipality of Agios Nikolaos

Vamiedakis cited the example of the Agios Nikolaos marina which can cater to the increased needs of yachting tourism, adding that more marinas must be established along the island’s western Mediterranean routes, attracting more arrivals from foreign vessels.

He went on to note that organizing international sailing events can also contribute greatly in this direction.

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