The growing importance of cruise travel in the Eastern Mediterranean, extending the tourism season, and strong home porting activity in Greece, topped the topics addressed by Celestyal Cruises CEO Chris Theophilides during this year’s Ρosidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Athens.
Speaking on a panel about cruise travel in the Mediterranean, Theophilides said that Celestyal Cruises accounts for 70 percent of all home porting activity in Greece, adding that in this direction the Greece-based cruise company had enlisted two medium-sized ships to approach many of the country’s inaccessible islands.
At the same time, Celestyal’s contribution to the Greek economy came to 103 million euros in the 2014-2018 period, with plans to increase its contribution through the addition of new destinations on its routes, including Patra, Volos and Corfu, and by opening up to the Ionian and Adriatic in 2020.
Theophilides went on to note that in 2017, Celestyal hosted more than 100,000 passengers from 140 different countries on its Aegean Sea cruises, adding that Celestyal liners made 663 calls to Greek ports.
As part of its strategy to expand, Celestyal Cruises is working to extend the tourist season by offering itineraries all year round.
Speaking during a panel discussion titled “Cruise Travel 365 Days o Year”, Celestyal Cruises General Manager Leslie Peden said the company had already extended its schedule by eight weeks with two new routes: the “Idyllic Aegean” and “3 Continents” – expected to bring an additional 30,000 new visitors to the area.
Peden added that Celestyal was also in talks with the tourism ministries of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt on joint initiatives that will promote itinerary destinations and generate more demand.