Government ministers from Turkey and Greece both made announcements on the opening day of Seatrade’s 2nd Winter Cruising Forum in Istanbul that will give cruising in the region a major boost.
Delegates in Tuesday’s opening session heard from George Nikitiades, Greek Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, that Greece’s cabotage restrictions are to be lifted, an action long awaited by the cruise community. New reforms include an amendment to the 2010 cabotage law on non EU-flagged vessel home porting, whereby the obligation to sign a contract with the Greek state for home porting in the country is completely withdrawn. Adonis Georgiades, Greek Deputy Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping reiterated Mr. Nikitiades’ announcement in this morning’s conference session, stating that the new law was with the cabinet and would likely be passed by 20 December.
Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Marine Affairs and Communications, Binalı Yıldırım, also addressed forum delegates yesterday, announcing reductions of up to 50% in certain port and service fees for cruise ships calling in Turkey from January 2012. He said that the reductions would equate to $10m governmental financial support to the sector.
Yıldırım also spoke about the country’s tourism strategy through to 2023, “where we are planning the redevelopment and expansion of ten cities and nine cruise ports plus four new airports and new road and transport infrastructure.” He addressed the need to grow cruise tourism in Turkey, particularly in the winter months, “We have a climate that is conducive to cruising 365 days a year, especially in the Aegean, and we hope our announcements will assist this.”
Winter and year-round cruising are under the spotlight in Istanbul; where over 180 delegates and speakers are gathered for this timely event, with the region poised for a surge in cruise deployment over the coming years.
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