Summer is warming up in Thessaloniki as more and more cruise ships make port calls this year creating a welcome dynamic for the northern port city, according to Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
In an interview to SKAI television, Kikilias said the Thessaloniki Port Authority had revised upwards its figures from an expected 180 percent increase in cruise ship arrivals a few weeks ago.
“We’re now talking about a 250 percent rise,” he said, adding that the upward trend doesn’t stop there. Year-round destination Rhodes is expected to see 450 cruise arrivals this year.
The Greek minister informed that Mykonos and the mainland port of Kavala are also seeing cruise figures increase. Meanwhile, Piraeus port, the country’s largest, is recording a 130 percent rise in cruise ship arrivals launching the season much earlier this year in March.
ELIME expects increase in cruise ship arrivals in Greece
Looking at cruise activity overall in Greece, the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) expects a 25 percent increase over pre-pandemic 2019 levels based on bookings so far and performance in the first five months of 2022.
According to the same data, increased cruise activity compared to 2019 is expected in the Cyclades islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Paros and Milos.
On the downside, Syros and Naxos are expected to mark declines while Andros and Ios will have no cruise ship arrivals.
More specifically, this year 741 cruise ships are expected to make port calls on Santorini compared to 191 in 2021 and 592 in pre-Covid 2019.
Mykonos is set to welcome 692 cruise ship arrivals this year (252 in 2021 – 550 in 2019), Paros 85 (16 in 2021 – 27 in 2019), Milos 48 (42 in 2021 – 38 in 2019), Syros 63 (28 in 2021 – 82 in 2019) and Naxos 10 (0 in 2021 – 16 in 2019).