Piraeus Port Authority SA, operator of Greece’s largest harbour, said the number of cruise ships docking at the port rose 5.1 percent in the first quarter after the government raised restrictions on ship crews last year.
The overall number of passengers arriving in Piraeus on cruise ships rose 58 percent to 139,692, while the number of transit passengers, whose ships called at the port as part of a bigger itinerary, increased almost 73 percent, the port operator said in a statement on its website.
“The figures justify our predictions that even during the winter there can be a recovery in the cruise-ship sector,” Chief Executive Officer Yiorgos Anomeritis said in the statement. Piraeus Port cut docking fees for vessels, including cruise ships, on March 21.
Greece is seeking to raise an additional $1 billion a year from maritime tourism. The country last year lifted so-called cabotage restrictions that required non-European Union ships operating in Greek waters to employ Greek sailors.
Tourism is Greece’s largest industry, which will account for just under 16 percent of economic output and almost one in five jobs in 2011, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.
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