The global association of cruise operators (CLIA) welcomed the relaunch of cruise tourism in Greece on Thursday, saying the sector is currently enjoying great momentum in the country thanks to the cooperation of all parties concerned.
A week after the resumption of cruise activities in Greece and five days before the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2021 – the biennial international conference and exhibition dedicated to cruising and sea tourism, taking place this Tuesday – the Cruise Lines International Association commended Greece’s adherence to the timetable the government had presented months earlier. It noted that “cruise resumption has been the result of extensive and fruitful collaboration between the cruise industry, the Greek government, health authorities, and ports.”
More than 20 cruise lines are currently scheduled to set sail around Greece this year, with calls at 45 ports in total, demonstrating the dynamics of the industry as well as the momentum of Greece as a top cruise destination, CLIA stated. At least 15 of those cruise lines will homeport in Greece. Remarkably, cruise operations started from day one of the reopening last Friday, with four cruise lines set to have voyages under way in Greece’s seas during May. In total almost 40 cruise ships are projected to sail in Greece this year.
“We are extremely happy with the restart of cruise travel in Greece. The restart marks the culmination of the excellent collaboration our industry has with the Greek government. In particular, Minister of Tourism Haris Theocharis and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis, with their structured and focused work on the restart timeline and the ports’ preparedness, helped to make cruise travel possible again, on time,” said Maria Deligianni, national director for the Eastern Mediterranean at CLIA.
The association added that the return of cruises to Greece is a welcome boost to the cruise communities and the people employed in the Greek cruise sector, which generates almost 1 billion euros for the country’s economy, as well as those whose livelihoods depend upon the industry, including travel agencies, tour guides, port operators and many other service providers across the country.
With more than 5 million passenger visits per year, Greece continues to be one of the most popular cruise destination countries globally.
This great momentum for cruise tourism in Greece will be highlighted at the coming Posidonia forum, where all major industry players and stakeholders will exchange ideas and share initiatives for post-pandemic cruising. Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA’s global chairman and executive chairman of MSC Cruises, Ukko Metsola, CLIA Europe’s director general, as well as Maria Deligianni will address the forum, discussing the latest challenges for the industry as well as the importance of Greece as a cruise destination.
The association also stressed that the health and safety of passengers, crews and destinations are an operational imperative and priority for CLIA members as cruise lines resume operations responsibly. The focus is on strict embarkation procedures and on universal (100%) testing of passengers and crew, together with new sanitation procedures on board, strong monitoring mechanisms and strict rules for shore excursions.