Greek-Turkish tourist packages are coming on the cruise

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Of George Georgiou

A new field of cooperation focusing on tourism is opening between Athens and Ankara, as the competent ministers of the two countries stated at the recent Greek-Turkish forum.

“Visitors from Turkey are welcome, quality tourists and we want to strengthen the tourist flow from the neighboring country,” said, among others, the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias.

The officials emphasized the increase of the ferry and air connections between the two countries, while the focus was on maritime tourism, namely the cruise industry.

The role of the cruise

“Cruise has historically been a form of tourism that united the two countries with significant benefits for the national economies” explains to Capital.gr the president of the Association of Cruise Shipowners and Shipping Operators (EEKFN), cap. George Koubenas.

As he says, “the development of many tourist destinations in the neighboring country, such as Kusadasi, is mainly due to the Greek cruise, while respectively many island destinations in our country, such as Symi, Halki etc. are based on maritime tourism that comes from Turkey”.

In this context, the proximity of the two countries and the tendency of many tourists to combine destinations favor the creation of a common tourism “product”, which was also stressed by the Turkish Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

“For most cruise passengers coming from distant destinations, such as North America, Latin America and Australia, the Aegean cruise is intertwined with visits to both Greek and Turkish destinations, due to the proximity and relationships between destinations, as they have formed from the depths of history “notes Mr. Koubenas.

In this light and given, according to Mr. Koubenas, that “the way of entertainment and food preferences are similar in the two peoples” facilitates the formation of a common tourist package and similar services.

Common strategy

However, in the first phase, as competent authorities say, a number of problems need to be resolved.

“What is needed to be even more effective cooperation and smooth operation on the cruise is to ensure some conditions that have to do with the entry process in the two countries,” said Mr. Koubenas.

“For example,” he explains, “the biggest issue facing companies is the time-consuming visa issuance process for Turkish cruise passengers who want to visit the Greek islands.”

Of course, today companies and the state are called upon to formulate a framework of protection against the pandemic. “It is crucial to create and adhere to common health protocols in order to have a common approach to the cruise passenger.

This means that they can operate in a uniform way and without problems, whether the passenger enters from Greece or from Turkey, always offering the best possible hosting experience “, underlines the president of EEKFN.

The performance of 2021

In fact, Mr. Koubenas states that lately “there is a dynamic and an increase in demand for ship approaches from Turkey to Greece and vice versa.” This is a positive development, as in the last two years the routes connecting the two countries had decreased dramatically.

Overall, the cruise industry has recovered this year compared to last year, approaching a satisfactory degree of performance in 2019, when there were excellent results in tourism and especially in cruising.

Specifically, the increase of homeporting and the multiple approaches of ships in Greek ports are expected to lead to an increase in revenue that will reach 50% -60% of 2019, according to cruise linemen. Thus, the foundations are laid for a 2022 stabilizer, with prospects for significant growth from 2023 onwards.

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Source From: Capital

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