The Mediterranean, as a cruise destination, is acquiring an increasing proportion of the global market in the branch, which is marked by the switch of interest from the mature market of the Caribbean to the wider region of the Mediterranean, Greek maritime affairs, islands and fisheries minister Yiannis Diamantidis said on Thursday, opening the general assembly of Mediterranean and Black Sea Ports taking place in Piraeus.
Diamantidis said that cruise operators from Miami, the center of global cruises, estimate that by 2014 the Mediterranean will be the top cruise destination.
The minister said that a big boost in home porting (boarding and disembarkation of a passenger in the same port) will begin for Greece in 2012, given that the major companies make their plans on a 2-3 year basis.
He further said that there has been a 10 percent increase in cruiseship arrivals in Greece with a simultaneous increase in tourist arrivals of more than 20 percent.
Diamantidis also noted that immense interest has been manifested by foreign companies for investments in Greek ports, not only in the port of Piraeus but also in other parts of the country, adding that the ministry is in constant contact and discussions on this matter.
A total of 108 representatives of Mediterranean ports and international cruise companies took part in the general assembly, coming from all countries of the Mediterranean as well as from the Black Sea and Red Sea countries.
The general assembly was originally planned to take place in Tunisia, but due to the explosive situation in the region it was relocated to Piraeus.