Abolition of cabotage failed to boost Greece cruise sector

7 November 2016
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When the cabotage regime preventing foreign-flagged cruise ships from easily plying Greek waters was abolished in 2010, primarily due to the advent of the punishing economic crisis, hopes were raised that the high-value tourism sector would finally flourish.
Those hopes, however, have been dashed in the meantime, as Greece failed to take advantage of cabotage’s abolition, with the country remaining in third place, as far as European cruise destinations is concerned, but with a decreasing market sector.
The current year’s passenger traffic for cruises was mainly preserved due to the collapse of the neighboring Turkish market. Most of the vessels plying the east Mediterranean’s waters in 2016 found shelter in Piraeus, as a home port. However, more pessimistic estimates for 2017 point to a possible loss of 20 to 30 percent, yoy.
According to market analysts, the Aegean islands alone cannot create a singular market without Turkey’s Asia Minor resorts and destinations, regardless of the fact that Greece remains the safest and surest holiday destination in the region.

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