Greece expects 7% increase in cruise guests this year
Tapping into innovation, flexibility in addressing emerging challenges, and partnerships between the private and public sectors are key to establishing Greece as a top cruise destination in the Mediterranean, said Tourism Minister Thanasis Theocharopoulos speaking in Athens on the second day of the 2019 Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum (PSTF) on Wednesday.
Addressing the delegates, Theocharopoulos underlined the importance of further developing the country’s sea tourism options with particular focus on cruise travel, adding estimates of a 7 percent increase in cruise guests this year.
Establishing the ports of Piraeus and Heraklion on Crete as homeports, upgrading the country’s marina infrastructure, accelerating spatial planning terms for medium-sized and large marinas in protected areas, are all key priorities for the government in efforts to make Greece more competitive and more attractive to investors, while at the same time promoting lesser-known destinations.
“The cruise sector is one of the most significant pillars of Greek tourism, a crucial sector for the country’s economic development,” said Theocharopoulos, adding that meeting environmental targets, increasing jobs, improving the investor environment were just some of priorities.
“The development and promotion of cruise travel and yachting can also make a substantial contribution. Strengthening maritime tourism creates growth prospects with multiple benefits for the domestic economy not only through the upgrade of infrastructure and improved services but also by creating jobs,” he said.
In this direction, the minister pointed to the need of a friendlier taxation policy which will provide incentives and be a result of consultation by all stakeholders.
Moreover, he added that the launch of international flights connecting Athens with key growth feeder destinations such as China, Canada and the USA and the upgrades of facilities at the country’s gateway regional airports, will also play a significant role in the growth of the cruise market.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media sponsor of the 5th Ρosidonia Sea Tourism Forum.