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More than 5 million cruise passengers

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Less cruises in the Greek destinations in 2016 but more passengers.
The balance of cruise is expected to be positive for our country for 2016 regardless the problems that the whole eastern Mediterranean faces because of the war conflicts, terrorism and refugee crisis that is beyond control.
According to the last estimations of the union of cruise ship-owners and other marine institutions, in 2016 there are expected less ships but the passengers will be more..
More specifically we expect 4.044 approaches of cruise ships to the Greek ports but 5,2 mil. visitors.
In 2015 we had 4.281 approaches with 4,95 mil. passengers, the numbers were increased related to 2014, mainly because of the last three months when many companies cancelled their approach to neighbouring countries and asked for our ports.
Greece is expected to take advantage of the profits due to the general instability that is observed in the neighbouring countries but there is a possibility of these companies to find new markets for their ships from 2017 and afterwards.
According to the president of the Union Theodoro Kontes cruise is developing internationally and new luxury and big units are being constructed for the requirements of the clients and the increased demand that exists. Also he mentions that the eastern Mediterranean is really an area which experiences constant conflicts due to the countries that surround it such as Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Northern Africa in general.
This constant situation worries the tour operators especially for what concerns- the schedule of the ships.
The cancellations of cruises in neighbouring countries are regular and benefit the Greek ports. However there is scepticism for the near future.
Greece remains a safe and the main destination of eastern Mediterranean, however the tour operators are always overlooking in visiting many countries with different cultures.
The port of Pireus remains the biggest cruise destination in Greece and the fall in approaches and visitors is stable .This year there are expected less than 900.000 visitors.
The Organization of the port of Pireus from 2013 and every year has less visitors and approaches. In 2013 there were 606 approaches from 711 the last year and 1,05 mil visitors from 1,3 mil. visitors in 2012 and in 2015 we had 621 approaches and 980.000 visitors due to the conflicts in the neighbouring countries.
For 2016 there are expected 510 approaches and 888.000 visitors with Santorini to approach it dangerously.
This occurs despite the fact that the island has no port and the ships stop out of the port while the cable car to be the only way to approach the island.
Regarding the tendencies of this season Mr Kontes points out:
* Pireus remains the first destination but attentions and planning are required
* There is an increasing tendency for the peripheral destinations of Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu etc
* The islands of northern and south-eastern Aegean have the problem of refugees and will not be benefited at all (Mitillini, Chios, Kos, Simi, Samos).
* Finally, in the port of Lavrio the traffic has been improved and it is competitive to Pireus as Celestyal Cruises prefers this solution for home-porting.