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More cruise ships sail to Greece

Symi island cruise ship

More cruise ships sail to Greece.

The Greek Islands are climbing the cruise ship table as more ports attract sea-going tour companies. Greek Island ports now rank third in Europe as more cruise ships then ever book berths at Greek ports. Up to July this year the main Athens' port of Piraeus has seen a 12% rise in cruise ship passengers while numbers visiting Greece and the Greek Islands overall has also risen sharply.

Latest estimates put cruise ship passenger number across the Greek Aegean this year at 1.8 million, more than the 1.2 million notched up in the same period in 2012.

The Greek ports, notably Piraeus, have attracted more and more visitors since the lifting of restrictions earlier this year.

Three cruise ships carrying 6,600 tourists arrived at the port of Heraklion took the to record levels while the Ionian island of Corfu has also seen a big surge in cruise visitors.

There are similar rises at other ports in the Greek Island, with a jump of 62% for Crete, 30% on Santorini, 23% for Corfu and 20% in Kefalonia.

It is estimated that each tourist spends a daily average of €200 euros so estimated revenues from the rise in cruise ship visitors is estimated at €1 billion from passengers in transit and €2 billion at departure ports.

The cruise ship rise must be set against a sharp drop in domestic shipping traffic in the Greek Islands this year with numbers down 30% in the first quarter of the year and around 30,000 passengers fewer in July compared to last year.

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