Greek ports are expected to welcome more than 5 million cruise passengers this summer, breaking last year’s slowdown with the ports of Piraeus, Santorini and Corfu leading the activity, cruise travel experts said this week.
According to Greece’s Union of Cruise Shipowners and Associated Members (EEKFN) the number of incoming cruise travelers is set to exceed the 5 million mark, recording an 8-9 percent increase compared to 2018.
New projections are above the initial 2-3 percent marginal increase forecast this year, now adjusted upward with experts expecting more than 5 million arrivals and 3,664 calls of port compared to 3,410 calls and 4,788 million arrivals in 2018, and 3,414 calls and 4,625 million arrivals in 2017.
The 5 million level was exceeded only in 2016 with 5,196 million visitors and 4,885 calls.
In the lead, Piraeus port is slated to welcome 643 calls and 1.1 million passengers compared to 524 calls and 961,000 arrivals last year, 576 calls and 1.05 million arrivals in 2017, and 625 calls and 1.09 million arrivals in 2016.
Second, the popular Cyclades island of Santorini is set to record its best performance in the last four years with some 800,000 arrivals and 578 calls.
In third spot, the Ionian island of Corfu expected to welcome 735,000 arrivals this year.
Completing the top five ports of call are Mykonos with 700,000 arrivals and Katakolo with 421,000 arrivals.
Speaking to Greek daily Naftemporiki, EEKFN President Theodore Konte noted that fuel supply to large ports meeting set specifications (low sulfur content) and tougher passport controls as of 1 January 2021 for non-Schengen passengers will be among the challenges requiring immediate action.