International cruise companies are looking to include more Greek destinations in their future itineraries while focusing on offering a travel experience that blends in with the local way of life, said a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) delegation during a meeting this week with Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis.
On the back of an 8.5 percent rise in cruise travel to the Eastern Mediterranean region in 2018, more companies are expected to include Greece in their future planning while at the same time paying special attention to sustainable practices and local community integration.
Other issues topping the agenda of talks between Plakiotakis and CLIA included the upgrade of port infrastructure to accommodate larger cruise liners, the urgent need to create a strategic plan for cruise tourism, the privatization of 10 ports, encouraging investments in new products, experiences and destination infrastructure, as well as seeking ways to increase passenger dispersal at popular destinations.
According to CLIA statistics, Greece is the third largest cruise destination in Europe, after Italy and Spain, welcoming 4.09 million passengers in 2017. Piraeus, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Katakolon are the most popular ports of call.