The Greek sea cruise industry recorded a 3.5 pct increase in passenger traffic in 2018, with the same number of ship arrivals despite recent geopolitical turmoil in the eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Ports Association (ELIME) said in a report released on Monday.
ELIME said a total of 3,410 sea cruise ships arrived in Greece in 2018, from 3,415 in 2017 and 4,307 in 2016, while sea cruise visitors totaled 4,788,642 in 2018, from 4,625,363 in 2017 and 5,204,431 in 2016.
The port of Piraeus was once again the top destination for sea cruises with 524 ships and 961,632 passengers in 2018 (576 and 1,055,559 in 2017), followed by Santorini (474 ship arrivals and 749,286 passengers in 2018, from 406 ship arrivals and 620,570 passengers in 2017). Corfu was third with 413 ship arrivals and 735,832 passengers (410 ship arrivals and 679,681 passengers in 2017), followed by Mykonos (484 ships and 702,256 passengers in 2018 from 501 ship arrivals and 699,304 passengers in 2017), Katakolo, Heraklion, Rhodes, Cephallonia-Ithaka, Chania and Patmos.
Theodore Kontes, president of the Shipowners and Sea Cruise Agencies Association, speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) said that in 2017 some sea cruise companies either left Greece and the Mediterranean for Asia, while some returned to Turkey after the neighbouring country’s decision to offer a subsidy of 25-45 euros for each sea cruise passenger.