Greece eyes over €1.1 billion this year from increasing homeporting activity and addition of new port of call destinations
As the international cruise industry prepares for the highly anticipated Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predicts that the sector will attract up to 33 million passengers in 2023, significantly exceeding the 29.7 million recorded in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.
According to recently released CLIA data, Greece, which is at the forefront of European cruising, is poised to enjoy an increase in economic impact from the industry, with Piraeus, the country’s leading seaport, forecasted to exceed one million passengers in 2023. In 2021, Greece achieved an unprecedented economic impact of €1.1 billion from cruise activities, compared to €957 million in 2019.
The sector supported 315,000 jobs in Europe, with 15,100 of those jobs based in Greece. Greece led the world with a swift and safe resumption of cruising during the pandemic and saw a significant increase in homeporting, leading to cruise lines purchasing goods and services from port suppliers. Also, passengers spent longer periods in port cities and overnight stays in local hotels, contributing to the increase of the economic impact due to longer stays of ships in port to carry out technical work.
Theodore Vokos, Managing Director of Posidonia Exhibitions SA, said that the Forum taking place outside Athens is an exciting development that will potentially further enhance cruising in Greece: "The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders to come together in Greece’s second biggest city and discover the potential of new destinations. With new cruise terminals set to be built in Souda-Chania after 2024, the planned expansion of the Piraeus cruise terminal, and Thessaloniki’s growing potential as an additional cruise hub, the industry's growth is set to continue in Greece for the years to come."
The value of cruise tourism cannot be overstated, with every 24 cruise guests equating to one full-time job and each guest spending on average €660 in port cities during a typical seven-day cruise. Furthermore, 60% of people that have taken a cruise have since returned to a destination they first visited on a cruise ship, hence each cruise is basically a self-funded fam trip. The CLIA Global Market Report 2020 shows that 85% of millennials plan to cruise again, followed by Gen-X (82%), Gen-Z (79%), Baby Boomers (77%), and Traditionalists (73%).
The Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 25-26 April 2023 and will focus on "The Return to Growth: Challenges ahead for Cruise Lines and Destinations". It promises to be a hub for discussions about the future of the cruise industry and its continued positive impact on the economy.
The PSTF 2023 will also be the platform for the first presentation of a socio-economic impact study produced by Thessaloniki Port Authority and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation, that will contribute to a better understanding of the benefits of cruising for the local community.
The benefits the cruise industry generates for both destinations and ports are frequently quoted, but the actual economic impact is rarely measured and seldomly reported. Participants at the PSTF 2023 will have a unique opportunity to learn all they need to know about actual passengers' and crew spending levels, their preferred spending patterns, the levels of satisfaction from their visit, as well as the potential of their return to the city.
The presentation will showcase the socio-economic contribution of cruise in the port and city of Thessaloniki and preliminary data already provides useful insight into the spending patterns of cruise passengers and crew members in Thessaloniki. Hence cruise passengers direct their spending towards shopping (44%), restaurants & cafeterias (40%), sightseeing (12%) and food stores (3%). Crew members on the other hand direct their spending towards shopping (55%), restaurants & cafeterias (16%), transportation (14%) and food stores (10%).
Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications, ThPA SA - Port of Thessaloniki, commented: “We are financing this study together with the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation to better understand how the cruise industry benefits our city and how we can further enhance both passenger experience during their stay and the benefits for the local, regional and national economy. Once we better understand passenger expectations as a destination, we will be better able to provide cruise passengers a unique experience. This will serve as our stepping stone to attract more cruise lines to Thessaloniki in the coming years.”
The 2023 PSTF is sponsored by Diamond Sponsor Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, Gold Sponsor Region of Central Macedonia, Silver Sponsor Piraeus Port Authority SA, Bronze Sponsors Celestyal Cruises, Global Ports Holding, Greek National Tourism Organisation, Heraklion Port Authority SA, Kyvernitis Travel and Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation. The official airline is SKY express. PSTF 2023 is supported by AVIS, Global Air Compass and Agora Modiano. The Forum is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy and the Ministry of Tourism and supported by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) and the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members.