US passengers expected to boost cruises

The cruise sector in Greece will remain in positive territory this year, according to the estimates of the cruise sector expert at the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises, Andreas Stylianopoulos, who foresees a healthy rise in passengers from the United States.

The first cruise ships have already reached the country’s ports and the course of the euro/dollar exchange rate is favoring an increase in traffic from the US market, says Stylianopoulos.

Royal Caribbean International alone of scheduled to sail into Greek ports 400 times by December 1, with 70 percent of its passengers expected to be from the US, just 20 percent from Europe and 10 percent from other markets. Besides increasing in number, US passengers are also expected to be able to spend more money at eurozone ports such as those of Greece.

Yiannis Bras, president of the port authority of Iraklio, Crete, is also upbeat, saying that the island’s main port will from late October until February 2016 receive an additional 30,000 passengers from MSC cruises who were originally supposed to visit Tunisia. Rhodes will also benefit from that change in schedule.

However, several cruise companies are concerned about the Greek authorities’ inability to handle the issue of illegal immigration on many Greek islands.

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