Cruise tourism set for significant growth

Cruise tourism set for significant growth

As the international cruise industry prepares for the highly anticipated Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum on April 25-26 in Thessaloniki, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predicts that the sector will attract up to 33 million passengers in 2023, significantly exceeding the 29.7 million recorded in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

According to recently released CLIA data, Greece, which is at the forefront of European cruising destinations, is poised to enjoy an increase in economic impact from the industry, with Piraeus, the country’s leading seaport, forecast to exceed 1 million passengers in 2023. In 2021, Greece achieved an unprecedented economic impact of 1.1 billion euros from cruise activities, compared to €957 million in 2019.

The sector supported 315,000 jobs in Europe, with 15,100 of those jobs based in Greece. Greece led the world with the swift and safe resumption of cruising during the pandemic and saw a significant increase in homeporting, leading to cruise lines purchasing goods and services from port suppliers. Also, passengers spent longer periods in port cities and overnight stays in local hotels, contributing to the increase of the economic impact due to longer stays of ships in port to carry out technical work.

Theodore Vokos, managing director of Posidonia Exhibitions SA, said that the forum taking place outside Athens is an exciting development that will potentially further enhance cruising in Greece: “The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders to come together in Greece’s second biggest city and discover the potential of new destinations. With new cruise terminals set to be built in Souda-Hania after 2024, the planned expansion of the Piraeus cruise terminal, and Thessaloniki’s growing potential as an additional cruise hub, the industry’s growth is set to continue in Greece in the years to come.”

The value of cruise tourism cannot be overstated, with every 24 cruise guests equating to one full-time job and each guest spending €660 on average in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise. Furthermore, 60% of people to have taken a cruise have since returned to a destination they first visited on a cruise ship. The CLIA Global Market Report 2020 shows that 85% of millennials plan to cruise again, followed by Gen X (82%), Gen Z (79%), Baby Boomers (77%), and Traditionalists (73%).

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