By Anastasia Vamvaka
The cruise industry is on hold, with April being the traditional start month. The players hope that the optimistic messages for 2022 will be confirmed and that this year’s season will not turn into a “restart” period as it was characterized in 2021.
The concern that prevails in cruise companies and yachting maritime tourism prevails from the price rally on fuel and food but also the war turmoil seeing the new bookings “frozen” and of course the important market of the Russians and Ukrainians not boarding.
According to the statistics of 2021, the decrease compared to 2019 in passengers reaches 74.4% (1,418,315 passengers in 2021 against 5,552,384 in 2019) and in ship approaches -48% (2,064 cruise ships in 2021 against 3,979 in 2019). The significant difference between the number of ships and passengers is, of course, due to the measures needed to deal with the pandemic worldwide, European and national, and the imposition of restrictions on the occupancy rate of ships. The comparisons are made with 2019 – which of course was a milestone year for the industry – as in 2020 the industry for months had ceased its activities due to the pandemic.
“The outlook for the year 2022 is optimistic based on the increase in the number of bookings observed, the possibility of extending the tourist season through reaching new agreements and strengthening homeporting in Greek ports with companies in the industry moving more and more in it. “direction, provided, of course, the rapid and effective response to the spread of the Omicron mutation and the further halting of the pandemic,” the Ports Union said.
Piraeus, Mykonos, Corfu, Rhodes, Santorini, Katakolo and Heraklion are in the first place in the number of cruise ships. The number of passengers is preceded by Corfu, Piraeus, Mykonos, Rhodes, Katakolo, Heraklion and Santorini.
The President of the Association of Cruise Shipowners and Shipping Operators, Captain George Koumpenas, in his speech to the members of the Union said that “we would like to hope that the initial indications for this tourist season will be verified and will not affect the situation in at least in part because of the events in Ukraine. ”
The big losers for 2021 are the ports of Skopelos, Zakynthos, Itea, Folegandros and Igoumenitsa, which had a single-digit number of approaches compared to the three-digit number of ships in 2019. In Folegandros, out of 327 cruise ships in 2019, only 5 came in Skopelos from 250 in 2019 just 2 in 2021.