Greece is enjoying what’s being billed as the best tourism season ever, nevertheless the cruise ship sector is apparently not keeping up and, in fact, is purportedly showing a noteworthy decrease from 2016.
According to initial reports, cruise ship arrivals are down by 24 percent from the same period last year; while arrivals by cruise passengers at Greek ports is down by 15 percent.
The figures seen by Naftemporiki were collected by the Union of Cruise Ship Owners and Shipping Agents (EEKFN). Based on the latter’s estimates, 4.42 million cruise ship passengers will have visited Greece in 2017. The figure for 2016 was 5.19 million.
The decrease is recorded at all the main cruise ship destinations in the country, with Piraeus, for instance, this year forecast to receive one million cruise ship passengers, slightly down from 1.09 million in 2016.
Iconic Santorini, the ubiquitous backdrop for cruise ships sailing the Aegean, is forecast to fall to 600,000 cruise ship arrivals this year, down from 722,000 in 2016.
According to other Greek media, the decrease in the cruise sector is mainly due to cuts in the routes in Turkey – and by extension, to the Greek destinations that were combined trasnfer stations with the neighboring country. It was the political instability in Turkey that had the international cruise industry to cut destinations there with the effect that Greece remains alone as destination in the Aegean Sea..
One more reason is the development of emerging cruise destinations on the Asian market.
As far as 2018 is concerned, the current rack record of the international companies of the industry shows that cruise ship arrivals will move at the same low level as on this touristic season.
The shrinking of cruise arrivals, de facto, affects also other sectors like in ports, archaeological sites, museums, service stations, catering supplies, coaches, taxis, restaurants, travel agencies and shops. It also affects employment in various professions such as tour guides, waiters, coach and taxi drivers and others.
Given the problems in Turkey cruise, the solution could be in development towards the West, boost cruises in the Ionian and Adriatic Sea, experts dealing with the sector propose.