Managers of Greek ports (including Piraeus’s Cosco) and entrepreneurs in the local cruise tourism sector are battling to contain the anticipated drop in cruise traffic this year and to correct the country’s course in 2018. This week all eyes will be on the global cruise industry’s biggest annual rendezvous, Seatrade Cruise Global 2017, which opens on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The decisive factor for Greece will be how much success Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and companies such as Celestyal Cruises have in penetrating the Chinese market.
Another key factor is the implementation of infrastructure and service upgrades in Piraeus.
The market in the eastern Mediterranean has been hurt by the political situation in Turkey and the instability in the broader region, and Greek destinations have been left hanging with few options for combining cruise routes in the broader area. Terrorist attacks and political unrest in Turkey have led to a big drop in passenger demand for Istanbul, which only one cruise company will be stopping at this year.
Compared to 2016, it is estimated that Greece will see a 30 percent decline in cruise ship visits, according to the president of the European arm of the Cruise Lines International Association, Kyriakos Anastasiadis.