Wind of change: yacht tourism in Greece

Wind of change: yacht tourism in Greece

Greece ranks only 9th among EU countries by the number of pleasure boats. For the development of yacht tourism the government has announced the privatization of the largest marinas.
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The analysts of the international real estate broker Tranio were familiar with the tendencies of yacht tourism development in Greece.

Greece consists of about 6 thousand islands, and the length of its coastline is one of the largest in Europe and is 16 thousand kilometers. Relatively calm and clear waters of the Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, favorable climatic conditions and unique nature attract sailing enthusiasts from all over the world to Greece. The season for sailing on the water lasts from early April to early November. Yacht tourism in Greece has great potential for development, which the local government has decided to realize through attracting private investment.

Important sector of the economy

Tourist activity has a positive impact on the Greek economy as a whole. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), the contribution of tourism to Greek GDP in 2016 was 18.6% and is projected to grow to 22.4% by 2026. At the same time, the share of yacht tourism in GDP is estimated to reach 4.5%.

According to the President of the Greek Association of Professional Yacht Owners Antonis Stelliatos, today the registered charter fleet of Greece (motor and sailing yachts, small vessels for several dozens of passengers) consists of 3.5 thousand vessels. According to the CLIA association, the number of passengers on Greek cruise ships exceeds 4 million people. According to calculations of the International Council of Maritime Industry Associations (ICOMIA) for 2014, Greece takes only the ninth place in the EU by the total number of pleasure boats after Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Special attention should be paid to the marinas - equipped yacht berths, which can accommodate from several tens to several thousand pleasure boats. The marinas have everything you need: equipped mooring, security services, dry docks, parking, shops, restaurants and showers.

According to the HVS survey, in 2009, 24 marinas were registered in Greece, which could accommodate 8.5 thousand yachts. Another 3,000 could be moored in small berths, which had no official status.

According to the cruise company Kiriacoulis Mediterranean, in 2017 in Greece there are already 38 marinas for 11.5 thousand berths, most of them are in Attica.

The 12 Greek marinas have been awarded the «Blue Flag», which means that these yacht berths meet high environmental and safety standards (such as water purity, separate waste collection, recycling, etc.).


Sea tourism is one of the priorities of modern Greece. Problems in Turkey, although they have increased the total number of tourists in Greece, but created a number of problems for Greek yacht tourism.

«Political instability, migration crisis, terrorist attacks in Turkey, coupled with the unstable situation in Syria, Egypt, Libya and Israel, have led to the fact that in 2017, cruise companies transfer their fleet to other routes - says Theodore Kontes, president of the Union of Cruise Owners. - At the same time, new markets are opening up for Greece in this sector: Russia, China, India and other Asian countries».

At the moment Greece is working on new, improved routes, actively cooperating with its neighbors, especially Egypt.

The Deputy Minister of Economy and Development, Stergios Pitiorlas, in his speech at the international forum dedicated to sea tourism, stressed that the government is seeking to strengthen this sector in Greece, including through the construction of new marinas and the privatization of existing ones.

Privatization of Marinas

Alimos and Chios

At the end of November, the Greek State Privatization Fund (TAIPED) announced the launch of international tenders for the concession of two major marinas: in southern Athens and on the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. The concession agreements provide for the transfer of the marinas to investors for a period of 35 years.

Marina Alimos, located 15 km from the center of Athens, is one of the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean: its land area is 210,000 m², the berth is designed for 1,100 pleasure yachts.

The ground area of the marina on the island of Chios, located in the center of the east coast, is 28 thousand m². Today the marina can accommodate 200 vessels up to 30 meters long, and according to TAIPED, even small investments in the marina's infrastructure will significantly improve its functionality.


The marina, located in the northeastern part of Pilos, is planned to accommodate 129 vessels from 8 to 30 meters in length. The area of the marina is just over 31 thousand m². The port will be conceded to a private company for 40 years.

The marina, located 7 km from the center of Thessaloniki, accommodates 242 vessels up to 30 meters in length. The ground area of the marina is 77.8 thousand m². According to the latest data, the tender was scheduled to begin in 2017.

According to the head of TAIPED Aris Xenophos, the privatization of marinas means for Greece not only additional profits, but also new jobs: studies show that for each hundred berths create 4.4 direct jobs and about a hundred indirect jobs. «Attracting investors in Greek marina projects makes the surrounding areas more attractive and contributes to the development of the tourism industry as a whole», - the Greek edition of GTP quotes Xenophos.

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