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Cruise Travel Gave Greek Tourism a Boost in 2021

Photo source: Piraeus Port Authority (PPA)

Photo source: Piraeus Port Authority (PPA)

The cruise industry helped boost tourism to Greece in 2021 and is set to contribute to the country’s dynamic comeback this year, according to final data released by the Bank of Greece (BoG).

More specifically, according to the BoG’s “Cruise Survey”, Greece welcomed 2,074 cruise ship arrivals in 2021 up from 159 in 2020 and 1,538.8 thousand cruise passenger visits up from 68.2 thousand a year earlier.

Based on data collected at 16 Greek ports and covering 84.0 percent of all cruise ship arrivals in Greece, 83.7 percent of total cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.6 stopovers at Greek ports of call, up from 2.0 stopovers in 2020.

In terms of revenue, total receipts generated by cruise passengers in 2021 increased by 1,930.4 percent year-on-year to 200.8 million euros. BoG analysts note that of this amount, 26.6 million euros have already been included in the Border Survey data, accounting for receipts from travelers leaving the country through last ports in the country, while the remaining 174.3 million euros concern additional receipts data recorded by the cruise survey.

Leading the way in terms of cruise receipts in 2021 was the port of Piraeus with a share of 38.9 percent, followed by the port of Corfu with 18.8 percent and the port of Heraklion (Crete) with 13.9 percent. In total, the seven most important cruise ship ports accounted for 91.7 percent of all cruise receipts and 86.2 percent of all cruise passenger visits.

In the meantime, the number of overnight stays ashore grew by 1,894.1 percent year-on-year to 2,887.9 thousand in 2021, with a positive impact on cruise receipts. The total number of cruise passengers also rose by 1,633.5 percent to an estimated 585.8 thousand.

Greece is betting on cruise ship arrivals to help extend the tourism season. Earlier this year, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said 2022 would be a year of all-time cruise arrivals as Piraeus and Thessaloniki will be serving as home ports. In this direction, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – Europe and the tourism ministry agreed to kickstart cruise travel to Greece earlier this year.

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