Positive prospects for the resumption of cruise operations in Greece by August were raised during discussions between CLIA and the Greek Minister of Tourism, Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, and experts of the National Public Health Organization, according to Maria Deligianni, CLIA Regional Representative, East Mediterranean.
“All parties agreed on the need for national and industry coordination, and a clear timeline, in order to achieve a smooth resumption of cruise operations” Mrs Deligianni says.
“Cruise lines are looking at a gradual, phased resumption with potentially a limited number of cruise trips initially. We informed Greek officials that cruise lines are interested to include Greece in their itineraries in coming August, an aspiration which was positively received by the Government. For its part the Government indicated its intention to develop a national protocol as key to resumption of operations based on guidelines being prepared by the European Commission, specifically the EU Health Gateways guidance and the European Maritime Safety Agency”.
“While we stressed the need for all stakeholders to work intensively so that everything is ready by August, the safety, health, and well-being of passengers and crew is the industry’s number one priority” says Mrs Deligianni and concludes: “Our discussions focused on the development of framework protocols, highlighting a holistic approach which includes the whole cruise trip, from the booking process until the departure home. Emphasis was given on the strict pre-boarding measures and onboard procedures as well as the measures that will be taken at the embarkation and disembarkation ports, and transit calls”.
The economic contribution of the cruise industry in the Greek economy is close to 1 billion euros per year, with almost 12.000 jobs depending on cruising. In the discussions with the government, CLIA highlighted that it is not only the cruise lines experiencing economic losses from the suspension of operations but also the cruise destination countries such as Greece, looking too for the resumption of cruise operations. The suspension of operations which has exceeded the 90 days has led to a total national economic impact at least of 200 million euros while more than 1.700 jobs can be lost. Cruising is an important part of the tourism flows by bringing more than 15% of the total 33 million visitors in the country every year.