Greece is among the top three destinations in the Mediterranean for cruise vacations, according to the International Association of Cruise Lines (CLIA). The data confirms the east Mediterranean country’s position as a top choice for cruise travel, as ports in th country welcomed seven million passengers and 5,230 cruise ships last year.

This upward trend was verified by CLIA’s regional director for the eastern Mediterranean, Maria Deligianni, who presented relevant details at the recent Posidonia maritime exhibition.

While recognizing the positive results in the industry, she added that cruises are not the first choice for Greek travelers, as out of the 31.7 million passengers globally, only a mere 15,000 are Greek citizens.

Deligianni stated \the largest cruise market worldwide, with 44.2%, is the Caribbean and its well-known island chain of the Bahamas, followed by Bermuda in the Atlantic. Next comes the Mediterranean, with Italy, Spain and Greece being the “big three” in the latter.

Regarding the nationality of visitors, the United States holds the first place, followed by holiday-makers from Europe, with Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy the top countries. According to Deligianni, cruise vacations are a cultural preference in these countries, with an affinity for Greece and its history. Travelers from Australia and South America also follow.

The CLIA regional director highlighted the need for national governments to support ports in terms of infrastructure and management to foster the growth of the rapidly expanding Greek cruise travel industry.