Lo­cal cruise sec­tor to bat­tle de­cline at fair

Kathimerini English - - Focus - ILIAS BELLOS

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 to­day 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.

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