The cruise segment in Greece is fast approaching pre-Covid 2019 levels, with over 5 million passengers expected to arrive this year, said Honorary Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members (EEKFN) President Theodore Kontes.
In an interview to Naftemporiki, Kontes said the figure is much higher than in 2022 but still below record year 2019 by 500,000 arrivals.
At the same time, Kontes points out that cruise ships making port calls in Greece are smaller vessels, sailing at full capacity and offering high quality services.
Kontes underlined that the improved performance of the segment has very much to do with Greece’s successful handling of the pandemic. He expects this year 5,060,000 cruise passenger arrivals, 2.5 million of which during the peak summer season.
Looking ahead, Kontes estimates that the cruise tourism segment in Greece will exceed 2019 levels in 2024 reaching 5.61 million arrivals and by 2025 reaching 5.8 million.
Lastly, referring to the climate crisis and news of ports such as Venice and Amsterdam shutting down to mega cruise ships, Kontes said Greek authorities should also start addressing issues that will soon affect local destinations.
“Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes are just a few destinations that, due to the overload in tourist traffic… some find cruise ships as an easy target. For this reason and to prevent strong reactions, the state should act immediately and apply the universally [applied] berth allocation system at all destinations foreseeing a certain number of ships and visitors, always taking into consideration destination carrying capacity and the services they can offer, existing infrastructure, local community needs and tourist flows,” he said.