The National Coordination Committee for Cruising Affairs in Greece resumed responsibilities recently following a meeting with Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis and sector executives.
The meeting agenda included the current state of affairs in cruise travel both in Greece and internationally, main challenges, as well as prospects for growth.
Initially launched in 2015, the committee oversees issues of infrastructure; ccommerce, trade, and promotional strategies; international maritime policy; and also provides support services.
With the ultimate goal to enhance the cruise tourism product, create value added and improve relevant infrastructure and regulations, the committee will also focus on identifying issues and challenges as well as table proposals and recommendations.
The committee met earlier this year to examine the utilization of 10 state-owned ports – namely the ports of Alexandroupolis, Kavala, Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Volos, Heraklion, Patras, Lavrio, Elefsina and Rafina –with the aim to stimulate investments in cruise travel.
The Greek government is seeking to tap into the growing cruise travel market with actions including upgrading ports in order to cater to larger liners as well as modernizing port infrastructure to include shops and hotels.
Indicatively, cruise travel to Greek destinations picked up pace in the first six months of 2019 driving a 10.1 percent increase in total receipts, according to Bank of Greece data released this month.
Based on data collected at 16 ports which account for 84.6 percent of all cruise ship arrivals, 1,278 cruise liners visited Greece in the January-June 2019 period, up from 1,118 in 2018. Some 1,734 thousand cruise passengers against 1,63 thousand in 2018, generated 183 million euros in travel receipts, up by 10.1 percent year-on-year.