Cruise tourism is recovering

Tourism executives are talking about a significant recovery from 2023, adding that global cruise travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 2024.

Experts emphasize that the current year 2022 is transition periodindicating that the number of passengers currently carried by cruise ships is approximately 70%-80% of ships’ capacity.

Global passenger numbers are expected to rise to 22.5 million passengers in 2022 from 17 million passengers in 2021, an increase of 32.5%, according to forecasts from an international industry think tank. In 2020, the number of cruise passengers worldwide fell to 8 million, compared to 29 million in 2019, when the restrictive measures against the pandemic were not yet introduced.

It is noted that 2020 and 2021 were periods when the industry suffered significant losses in the number of passengers due to restrictive measures against the pandemic.

The number of cruise passengers worldwide will grow to 26.5 million passengers in 2023, to 29.8 million in 2024, and to 31.5 million in 2025.

According to reports, in 2024 the cruise industry will return to a higher figure than in 2019. The total number of cruise ships worldwide in 2022 was 350 ships, of which 279 were members of the International Association of Cruise Lines CLIA), which is 92.5% of the world tonnage. For Greece, the performance of the sector is very optimistic, as the number of pre-booked cruise ships for 2022 in the country reaches 4,939 ships, according to the Hellenic Ports Association.

According to ΕΛΙΜΕ, 2,064 cruise ships with 1,418,315 passengers arrived in our country in 2021, compared to 3,979 ships with 5,552,384 passengers in 2019, when restrictive measures due to the pandemic did not yet exist.

Based on current cruise itinerary planning, the top 10 destinations by cruise ship arrivals this year are Piraeus with 739 calls, Santorini with 741, Corfu with 414, Mykonos with 692, Rhodes with 440, Heraklion with 231, Patmos from 213, Katakolo from 197, Chania from 119 and Kefalonia from 155.

Greece’s “cruise tourist” revenue in 2019, when there were no travel restrictions due to the pandemic, was €457 million, up from €433 million in 2018, an increase of 5.7%.

In 2022, it is planned to transfer from European shipyards to various companies at least 11 small cruise ships with a capacity of 130 to 930 passengers and another 9 large cruise ships with a capacity of 2,500 to 5,400 passengers. For example, in September 2022, Dream Cruises should receive from German shipyards the Clobal Dream cruise ship with a capacity of 5,000 passengers and worth $1.8 billion, and Carnival in October 2022 from Finnish shipyards – a cruise ship Celebration with a capacity of 5,200 passengers and worth $950 million In the fourth quarter of 2022, MSC Cruises will take delivery of the 5,400-passenger cruise ship Word Europa from French shipyards at a cost of $1.2 billion.

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