ECONOMY

Greece considers cutting ferry ticket prices

The Greek government is looking into reducing state charges imposed on ferry tickets in a bid to increase passenger traffic to the country?s tourist dependent islands.

The move is seen as helping boost revenues for Greece?s loss making ferries but analysts doubt whether the savings will reach travellers in full.

Apart from revenues going to ferry operators, ticket costs in Greece are also made up of additional fees paid to the sailor pension fund, among others.

According to a Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Ministry senior source, the government is looking into dropping some state charges for services no longer provided to the public, such as porters helping ferry passengers.

?We are looking at this. The move could result in a price drop of 12 to 14 percent in time for the summer period,? the source told Kathimerini English Edition.

The decision requires a commitment from ferry operators that they will pass on the savings to passengers, the source added.

Hit with rising fuel costs and falling passenger numbers due to the crisis, ferry companies were in the red last year and have been forced into either selling boats or moving ahead with a cash call in order to get through the tough times.

Analysts said cheaper travel costs would help boost income in the sector and strengthen a trend for travellers to choose ferry destinations rather than driving to holiday spots and paying for rising petrol costs.

However, they warn that the sailors are likely to oppose the move with protest action due to their pension fund losing out on income and doubt whether the savings will fully reach consumers.

?Ferry operators may reduce prices at the start but then they will probably bump up the cost of tickets, based on some excuse. This will lessen the possible positive impact from the decision,? said an analyst from a leading Athens brokerage.