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Greece cruise numbers and spending spiked in 2023

Celebrity Apex in Greece
Cruise tourism shot up in Greece during 2023, to 3.3m arrivals, a 64% spike from the 2m in 2022 and 26% higher than pre-pandemic 2019.

This is according to newly released research by Athens-based INSETE Intelligence, which found overall inbound tourism to Greece hit new highs in both arrivals and revenues in 2023, surpassing 2019.

Inbound tourism reached 32.7m arrivals, up 4.4% from 2019 (31.3,) and 17.6% compared to 2022 (27.8,). Including cruise numbers, tourism arrivals totaled 36.1m in 2023, up 6.1% compared to 2019 (34m) and 20.8% compared to 2022 (29.9m).

More cruise overnights

INSETE Intelligence tracked 8.3m overnight cruise stays, up 155% from 2022 and 104% from 2019. Last year overnight stays on cruises averaged 2.5 nights, up from 1.6 nights in 2022.

Higher passenger and cruise line spending

2023 cruise tourist spending totaled €847m, 102% higher than the €418.7m the year before and 70% more than in 2019.

On top of this, INSETE Intelligence estimated the cruise companies' own spending in 2023 at €235m, up from an estimated €116m in 2022 and €138m in 2019.

Average passenger spend €253.1 

Passenger spending per cruise rose 23.3%, to an average €253.1 in 2023, due to more overnight stays, although average spending per overnight stay was 20.7% lower, €101.7, down from €128.3 in 2022. Though, as INSETE Intelligence noted, unlike non-cruise inbound tourism, the increased duration of overnight stays more than compensated for the lower average expenditure.

Cruising less seasonal than overall tourism

INSETE Intelligence also found cruising is a less seasonal business than inbound tourism in general. Some 45.6% of cruise arrivals and 41.3% of receipts were in Q3, compared to Q2's 30.5%/22.4% and Q4's 26.6%/29.9% respectively. Just 1.5% of cruise arrivals and 2.2% of receipts were in Q1.

See also 'Record 1.5m passengers handled by Piraeus in 2023'