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Corfu sets out plans for sustainable cruising at MedCruise General Assembly

Article-Corfu sets out plans for sustainable cruising at MedCruise General Assembly

PHOTO: HOLLY PAYNE cruise_GA_corfu.jpg
L-R: Stefanos Gkikas, Figen Ayan, Meropi Ydraiou and Spyridon Zervopoulos
The Port of Corfu will receive 380 cruise calls this season bringing a combined 800,000 passengers, according to Spyridon Zervopoulos, MD, Corfu Port Authority, who said each vessel has been at full capacity since late March.

Corfu handles two turnaround calls each week throughout the summer season by Marella- and AIDA Cruises.   

The update was given at a press conference on the first day of the 62nd MedCruise General Assembly (May 23-26) taking place on the Greek island. Central Corfu and Diapontia Islands Mayor Meropi Ydraiou described the ‘great burden and great responsibility’ that comes with hosting this quantity of cruise passengers. She asserted, ‘We have to preserve the cultural and natural environment’ and said sustainable development was both ‘a crucial and moral duty,’ while nevertheless acknowledging that cruising is ‘the most developing field of our local economy.’

She proposed a partnership to ensure sustainability, stating, ‘As the mayor of Central Corfu, my main priority is to develop a cooperative scheme, which presupposes a partnership between the public and the private sector, where all the responsible parts will work together on supporting policies and practices in order to foster a sustainable cruise ship environment and improve the cruise travel experience. 

‘On this point, I would like to express, once again, our interest in collaborating with the MedCruise association on the development of a promising cruise tourism project.’ 

President of MedCruise, Figen Ayan, agreed, ‘As much as we want to have more calls and more passengers, we want to make sure that the destination on the hinterland is really happy to have all these passengers and crew. We are working with different NGOs, like AIVP, to make sure that the destinations we are representing are socially sustainable, as well.’ 

Expressing her personal opinion of Corfu, she said, ‘I love Greece as much as its islands. I am even more excited, as this is the first time that I'm able to discover this vibrant island with its old centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site [and] that has a different charm… thanks to its multicultural Italian, French and British influences.'

Infrastructure developments

Zervopoulos revealed that a new passenger terminal is planned for the port. 

Stefanos Gkikas, Member of the Hellenic Parliament representing Corfu, noted major development plans are underway for Corfu and for all the Ionian islands, with more than €1b set aside for the former. Out of seven new marinas that will be constructed in Corfu, one will be suitable for vessels measuring between 50-150mtr and include hotels, shops and restaurants. ‘There are four great companies... who are fighting each other, so to speak, on which one is going to take on this major project. We hope by the beginning of 2026, this huge new marina is going to be ready.’ 

Ydraiou and Gkikas both discussed plans to develop the road network, with Gkikas explaining, ‘We have a plan for a highway from North to South; the Prime Minister a few weeks ago addressed this... That this is going to help the development of the island very much.’  

High turnout

Ayan reported high attendance figures for the first day of the GA. She said, ‘We have, today, 100 delegates from 16 different countries, seven different cruise executives from 15 cruise lines, and 12 journalists from the international press.’  

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