Greece is emerging as the protagonist of the cruise sector in the Eastern Mediterranean for 2024, as the war climate in the Middle East seems to favor the port of Piraeus and Greek destinations.
According to “Naftemporiki” sources, the demand for Piraeus, but also for popular destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos, has increased by approximately 50% compared to 2023.
Last year, in fact, the port of Piraeus made an impressive comeback. According to information gathered by “Naftemporiki”, the major port recorded over 65% increase in passengers, over 100% in home port and over 10% in cruise ship arrivals. So far, scheduled cruise ship calls to Piraeus in 2024 exceed 1,000, compared to 750 a year ago.
2023 was the second impressive year in a row, as far as the big port is concerned, since in 2022, after the pandemic, the rise was also significant. Total passenger traffic amounted to 880,416 in 2022, compared to 303,665 in 2021, up 190%.
Cruise ship arrivals in Piraeus also increased by 79%, as they reached 677 from 379 the year before, surpassing even the pre-pandemic levels.
Homeporting arrivals recorded a 100.5% increase compared to 2021.
As for other destinations, Cyprus has lost momentum, while in Egypt the picture is mixed, as some companies cancel and others maintain their position.
In terms of destination management, CLIA highlights the importance of having a fair and transparent Birth Management System, to better organize ship arrivals and departures, as well as the passenger experience.
This system exists in the port of Piraeus, while CLIA is in constant contact with the operators of the destinations for this specific issue, since it is the Union’s first priority with regard to Greece.
The details of this year’s cruise strategies are expected to be outlined at the European Cruise Week, which will take place in Genoa from March 11 to March 14. The summit will include discussions between CEOs on how to make the ambition of net zero emissions a reality and the importance of organized tourism development and management in cruise destinations, as well as discussions on the protection of marine life.