International cruise industry has evolved into becoming the most successful sector in the maritime leisure market, achieving a constant average growth of 7.4%, for more than two decades. The exploitation of economies of scale which led to cost advantages, along with the diversification of the product and the inclusion of imaginative amenities and itineraries on behalf of the cruise lines, helped in the development of a mass cruise market which attracted the interest of a wider and more diversified clientele. This popularization has not only increased the profitability of cruise lines but also the economic benefits enjoyed by the host countries that accommodate them. Recent literature has highlighted the significant contribution of cruise tourism to local communities generating added income, employment and increasing welfare. As, the industry is expected to continue to grow and expand to new unexplored markets in the near future, these effects will also be magnified allowing more communities to benefit from the benefits generated by the cruise industry. This thesis examines the Greek cruise market and its potential, with a particular emphasis on the case of the two Ionian Islands, Corfu and Cephalonia. Our aim is on the one hand to estimate the economic impact generated by the cruising industry to the local communities of the two islands, while one the other hand to identify the factors that the latter should consider in their effort to emerge as major cruise destinations in the Mediterranean cruise market. Its contribution is to provide quantifiable estimates with regard to the average cruise passengers’ expenditures on these islands and to emerge those characteristics (infrastructure, facilities and services provided) which are necessary for the satisfaction of both cruise lines and their passengers. Our estimations illustrate the considerable economic impact generated for the local communities of Corfu and Cephalonia as cruisers spent on average 66.6 and 29.3 euro respectively. However, the deficiencies presented in the services offered are still evident denoting that cruise ports along with their cities should initiate an immediate effort to rectify them. The framework which analyses the strengths and weaknesses of each destination can, in principle be used, to develop an overall cruise strategy for local communities which would lead to the enhancement of the overall product offered. The conclusions are relevant for policy makers, as they illustrate and quantify the results of the development of cruise tourism in the region of Ionian Islands while propose some recommendations that could be taken into consideration. The development of a strong and sustainable cruise market is of imperative importance for the local communities and highly depends on implemented polices; in this respect, our research aims in helping them to this direction.

Haralambides, H. (Hercules)
Maritime Economics and Logistics
Erasmus School of Economics

Styliadis, T. (Theodore). (2012, September 14). Greek Sea is not in Crisis. An institutional approach of the economic impact cruise ships have on local societies: the case of two Ionian Islands.. Maritime Economics and Logistics. Retrieved from