Rhodes is becoming increasingly popular with cruise holidaymakers, with local authorities expecting a record growth in numbers of cruise passengers for 2011.
So far, more than 600 cruise ships are scheduled to call at Rhodes by the end of the year, bringing to the island more than 700,000 tourists. That represents an increase of almost 25 per cent in cruise passengers compared to 2010, when 561,000 visitors disembarked at the island from 539 cruise ships.
According to the latest official figures, already March 2011 saw a 42 per cent year-on-year increase (from 11,802 to 19,256 passengers), with April expected to also show strong numbers.
Rhodes is benefiting from the recent developments in North Africa – which have made many cruise lines change their itineraries – but also from recent changes in Greek governmental policies to develop cruise tourism, such as the lifting of cabotage and new infrastructure projects to enhance the Greek ports’ potential.
The country is hoping that cruise visits will increase by up to 50 per cent this year, bringing in an extra £800 million in tourism revenue.
Tom Panagos, PR Manager for Rhodes Tourism in the UK, said:
“Rhodes is one of the most vibrant Greek islands, providing a perfect day off the ship. It offers a host of activities and attractions, from UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe to the magnificent Acropolis of Lindos and the recently restored Kallithea Springs. The food is delicious, the people are friendly – and let’s not forget the amazing beaches that Greece is known for!”
Cruise ships dock at the commercial port to the east of the Old Town of Rhodes, which is only a few minutes’ walk away.
For more information about the island of Rhodes, please visit www.rodosisland.gr