Full Greece Cruise Recovery Expected in 2025
Cruise travel to Greece is expected to recoup 2019 pre-pandemic levels in 2025 achieving a 35 percent improvement this year, estimated Honorary Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members (EEKFN) President Theodore Kontes.
Improved performance hinges on the Covid pandemic completing its cycle by spring so that cruise activity can begin gradually in April, he said.
Greece can in 2022 expect 2,800 cruise ship port calls and 2.5 million passenger arrivals, which would boost activity by 35 percent over 2021, Kontes said citing pre-booking data. He added that due to an increase in destinations and different ship capacities, demand for cruise travel may increase further after 2025.
Kontes also referred to the impact of Covid and its variants on the industry worldwide, which has led to traveler reluctance. On top of that, late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised travelers against cruise travel, even for those who have been vaccinated, triggering a reaction from the cruise industry.
This week, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias expressed confidence that cruise activity would begin in Greece earlier than any other year. Kikilias commented after meeting with Hygiene and Epidemiology Professor and member of the Covid Committee of Experts, Christos Hadjichristodoulou. Updating European and Greek health protocols for cruise travel and the need for Turkey, Israel and Egypt, and non-EU Eastern Mediterranean countries to harmonize their regulations with these topped the agenda.
Additional issues addressed during the meeting were the resumption of cruise services connecting the Aegean islands to the Turkish coast and necessary health protocols to be implemented for a safe restart, as well as the necessary procedures for the opening of more Turkish ports to cruise ships.
Ahead of the restart of cruise travel, a series of training programs in the implementation of health protocols through the European joint “EU Healthy Gateways” project will be launched and coordinated by Hadjichristodoulou.
According to minister Kikilias, Greece successfully handled health protocols and Covid challenges creating a very successful rebranding of Greece abroad.