Despite the economic difficulties it faces, Greece is continuing with the changes it has announced and is seeking developmental prospects, culture and tourism deputy minister George Nikitiadis said on Thursday, addressing the general assembly of the Association of Mediterranean and Black Sea Cruise Ports (Medcruise) taking place in Piraeus.
He said the first positive results have appeared in the tourism sector, noting a substantial increase in tourist arrivals and revenues, and added that the government has placed the development of tourism among its targets and has already proceeded to the restructure and presentation of Greece's tourism identity.
The Mediterranean must evolve into a unique cruise destination throughout the entire year, Nikitiadis said, stressing that the future of tourism depends also on the future of the cruise branch.
He said that larger and modernised piers are needed, and also noted that accessibility has improved in many areas and a large number of regional airports have many more airlinks and can also serve cruise passengers.
Nikitiadis further said that deep changes are planned in shipping and tourism related studies, while procedures have also commenced for taking advantage of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) in order to improve tourism infrastructures.
Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) chief George Anomeritis told the general assembly that the prospect of the ports and cruise-related companies must be discussed in depth, adding that cruise companies and ports could work together on infrastructures.
Medcruise board of directors president Giovanni Spadoni praised the "very high level" of the Port of Piraeus, adding that one of the Association's targets is to increase the number of cruises in the Aegean and the Ionian.