The number of cruise ship passengers passing through Greece is expected to drop further in 2018, according to Panayiotis Kampouroglou, chief executive officer at ICTS Hellas and executive vice president of ICTS Europe (involved in air & maritime transport security).
SETE (Greek Tourism Confederation) has projected a 20% decline in cruise passenger traffic in Greece this season. Now Kampouroglou says that, according to the latest available data, next year will see a further 20% slump.
He argues that any rebound in Greek cruise tourism remains unlikely as long as security problems persist in neighboring Turkey. Major cruise operators have taken Turkey off their itineraries this year and will be keeping their distance next year too, and consequently cruise passenger visitors at Greek ports where cruise liners used to drop anchor on their way to Turkey will be much lower too.
On the other hand, Kampouroglou notes, there is increasing interest in cruise tourism around the shores of western Greece combined with scheduled stops in Italy and even Albania. Positive as this may be, it won’t offset the Aegean downturn.
SETE’s cruise tourism representative and head of Navigator – which represents Royal Caribbean – Andreas Stylianopoulos agrees with these estimates as he also expects visitors to decline next year too. However, he argues that revenue losses could be contained, as demand from the US market is showing signs of recovery.
After participating at SeaTrade, the world’s biggest cruise tourism fair held in Florida last month, Stylianopoulos says that efforts toward a Greek cruise tourism recovery will need to focus on 2019 and 2020 from now. He adds that the fact bigger cruise liners are currently under construction means Greece must upgrade its port infrastructure to be able to accommodate them in the future.