Greece is hoping increased cruise and sea tourism will help it ride the wave of economic recovery, with a major marina conference in Athens expected to bring future investment opportunities.

The 2018 ICOMIA World Marinas Conference (IWMC) will be hosted by the Greek Marinas Association (GMA) in Athens in October 2018. The event is expected to draw hundreds of marina owners, operators, developers, consultants, service providers, Government officials, equipment manufacturers, nautical tourism promoters, and port and harbour operators from around the globe. As well as discussions of global market trends and exhibitions of the latest marina products, the event will open opportunities for future developments of marina facilities.

Greece boasts more than 16,000km of coastline and more than 420 islands, and marinas are essential infrastructure for yachting and sea tourism development. Following the Greek government debt crisis and years of unemployment and uncertainty, tourism is essential to Greece’s recovery and prosperity. The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that increased tourism in 2017 will help boost the Greek economy by 6.9 per cent, and will boost employment by 6.3 per cent, supporting nearly one million jobs and representing 20 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The Greek National Tourism Organization’s development strategy includes increased focus on a number of areas, including targeting the luxury, cruises, yachting and diving sectors, as well as increasing access via sea.

Roberto Perocchio, ICOMIA Marinas Group Chairman, praised the GMA win: “The Greek coast is one of the most beautiful cruising grounds of the world for nautical tourism, and the international community of marina operators will now gather there in 2018 to discuss global trends and be inspired by the new marina investments that can be developed in this country thanks to privatization programmes, urban waterfront rejuvenation projects and the increased importance of the tourism economy.

“The Mayor of Athens has expressed his full support of IWMC 2018, as have other local and national authorities – this confirms the leading role that Greece plays at an international level in the field of yachting facilities and services.”

Stavros Katsikadis, president of the GMA, highlighted the importance of the win for Greek marinas and the city of Athens: “I’m confident IWMC 2018 will be a high-performing, world-class event. Delegates will benefit from quality content and the expertise of the exceptional international speakers IWMC attracts. Athens promises them an unforgettable experience.”

In May this year, at the 4th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, the Greek government signalled it would embark on public private partnerships to encourage investment in critical infrastructure to optimise the country’s full potential as a destination of choice for global cruise liners and passengers. Greece is seen as having the most stable ports in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and with increased capacity, improved facilities and a revitalised cruise offering, is expected to be able to increase its share of world cruise liner business.


(via Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau, Forbes, ICOMIA, European Business Review)


Featured image: Flisvos Marina, Athens