ECONOMY

Cabotage reaction costs keep growing

The consequences of the strong reaction by workers at the port of Piraeus in recent weeks against the docking of the Zenith cruiser are being felt strongly by Greek tourism. According to sources, the Celebrity international cruise company which belongs to the Royal Caribbean Group, has made a definitive decision to abandon its plans of using Piraeus as its port of start and end of its Constellation cruiser. The group had originally decided to use Piraeus as its homeporting point for six cruises in 2011, meaning passengers would embark and disembark at the Greek port. Yet the repeated action by Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation protesting against changes to the cabotage rules, resulting in Zenith passengers not being able to embark and disembark, has forced Celebrity to replace the main Greek port with that of Istanbul. The recently renovated Constellation cruiser has a maximum capacity of 2,100 passengers, which means it would have brought some 12,500 passengers next year, had Piraeus remained its homeporting point. This change of plans translates into a loss of some 7.5 million euros for Greek economy, which will instead go to Turkey. This includes about 20,000 overnight stays at Greek hotels.