Cruise ship calls to the Dodecanese islands appear to be decreasing, according to data on 43 recorded destinations (mainland and islands) across Greece, released last week by the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME).
According to the findings, 210 liners approached Rhodes in 2018 compared to 340 in 2015, with island stakeholders expecting even fewer calls in 2019.
The data indicates the same downward performance for the islands of Kos, Symi and Patmos. The data was collected by the 25 ELIME members as well as by Greek port authorities, and notes that overall in 2018, a total of 3,410 cruise ships made calls to Greek destinations compared to 3,415 in 2017, carrying 4,788,642 passengers against 4,625,363 in 2017.
ELIME said that levels have remained steady since 2017, with the same number of arrivals and a minor 3.5 percent increase in passenger visits, which demonstrates that “despite the problems created over the last two years by geopolitical turbulence in the East Mediterranean, Greek cruise travel has retained its momentum, having only slightly changed from the high levels of 2015-2016”.
Meanwhile, according to Theodore Kontes, Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members (EEKFN) president, 2019 will be a challenging year for the sector, which is expected to grow slightly by 1.5-2 percent.
According to the association’s data, Greece’s top 10 cruise destinations in 2018 were: Piraeus with 524 arrivals, Santorini (474), Corfu (413), Mykonos (484), Katakolo (221), Heraklion (187), Kefalonia-Ithaki (90), Chania – Souda (78) and Patmos (124).