Greece Expects Cruise Arrivals to Increase in 2023
On the back of a very good tourism year in 2022, Greece is expecting cruise arrivals to increase by 15 percent in 2023 supported by an earlier opening of the season, said Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
In an interview to public broadcaster ERT this week, Kikilias said hotel pre-bookings, scheduled flights and seats as well as tourism revenues so far show promising signs for a strong year ahead.
Increasing cruise ship arrivals and port of calls is a top Greek tourism ministry priority. Among others, Kikilias referred to the port of Thessaloniki which he said is a “great success story” after actions taken to establish the port as a hub.
“We went from 13-14 cruise ships last season to 78 last year and this year we’re aiming for more than 100,” said Kikilias adding that at the same time, 50 percent of the ships are home-porting.
“This means that travelers come, stay in the city, stay in the hotels, eat in the tavernas and restaurants, shop in the stores,” he said.
According to Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) data in 2022, 48 Greek ports welcomed 4,614 cruise ship arrivals and 4.38 million cruise passengers.
“Without a doubt, in an uncertain future and with one crisis succeeding the other on the European and global levels, tourism is the sector that supports the average Greek family and the national economy,” said Kikilias.
In other tourism news, Kikilias referred to the island of Samos, one of the islands affected by the refugee crisis, which he said welcomed 278,000 visitors in 2022 on board 2,000 flights. He said this year arrivals are set to increase by 20 percent and even further over the next five years.
Lastly, referring to Crete, Kikilias said the tourism season had already kicked off earlier than ever before with direct flights from Berlin, London, and Copenhagen and with 11 daily flights from Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Ireland and the UK.
“The season was excellent for Crete in 2022. It set a record and it will be even stronger in 2023,” said the minister.