1) Calendar year 2020: The Port of Heraklion reached rank #1 among all Greek ports in terms of cruise passengers volume:

As disclosed in the recent General Assembly of Greek Ports Association (ELIME) in late January 2021, the Port of Heraklion reached in 2020 rank #1 among all Greek ports in terms of cruise passengers volume.

Heraklion welcomed during the pandemic in 2020, 19.998 cruise passengers (who have visited Heraklion in 24 cruise ships calls), which reflect approx 30% of a total of 64.356 cruise passengers, that were registered in Greek ports during 2020.

Heraklion' 2020 cruise passengers figure is definitely not representative for the true potential of Heraklion as port of call (lacking 287.000 passengers compared with 2019 passenger volume), however, it proves that during the pandemic Heraklion retained a significant share of cruise passengers compared with other Greek ports.

Heraklion, being one of the most important cruise destination ports in Greece, played in autumn 2020 a crucial role in the cruise resumption in the Mediterranean, both as home, as well as transit port, a fact that has been widely acknowledged by the cruise community.

This success is a result of key initiatives and networking undertaken by the Management of Heraklion Port Authority S.A. headed by its CEO Mr. Minas Papadakis.

2) Cooperation between HPO S.A. and ELMEPA:
Heraklion Port Authority S.A., within the context of its cooperation with the Greek Academic Community, signed in January 2021 a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Cretan based Hellenic Mediterranean University (ELMEPA).

As one could expect, the Cruise, Maritime and Tourism Sectors are considered top priority research topics of this Memorandum. After a thorough evaluation of potential projects, it has been agreed to focus on the following:

a. Drafting a Business Plan for a yachting marina in Heraklion.
b. Evaluation of the financial impact of cruise and yachting passengers in the local economy.
c. Evaluation of the extent to which tourism and hotel accommodation are complementary or competing products. Respectively, the evaluation of potential synergies between cruises and yachting.
d. Development of digital marketing applications, aiming in the recording and promotion of destination attractiveness elements (i.e. cultural resources, natural resources, heritage, enogastronomy etc of Heraklion). These applications, once developed, will be made available to cruise companies and their passengers.

3) Destination Sustainability assessment project conducted by GSTC:
A brief update regarding the Destination Assessment of Heraklion, performed by GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) and co-funded by CLIA, Heraklion Port Authority and the Municipality of Heraklion.

The GSTC Destination Assessment focuses on four main categories of destination sustainability: destination management and governance; economic benefits to local communities; protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being; environmental protection and conservation. For more details about the Destination Assessment Methodology and examples, please see https://www.gstcouncil.org/for-destinations/destination-assessment/.

This very ambitious project for Heraklion as destination, is about to enter in its first phase (Phase A '), which includes data collection and the creation of a Stakeholders Map.

As we speak:
procedures for the launch of Sustainable Tourism Webinars for the Destination Stakeholders (4.3.2021-12.4.2021) have been communicated, as well as the content of Training Seminars (consisting of six 3-hour webinars and six 3-hour training sessions) for selected staff.

The progress of the project so far is in line with the agreed tight deadlines and all involved bodies express their full satisfaction for the highly professional implementation of the project.

4) Participation of Mr. Minas Papadakis, CEO of HPO S.A. at the “Morning Coffee” of Medcruise (a new initiative of Medcruise "Morning Coffee with Laura Cimaglia and Nicky Guerrero):
The CEO of HPO S.A. Mr. Minas Papadakis, was invited as guest speaker in the first webcast of this series on January 30, 2021 (each episode of 45 minutes duration), together with the CEO of the port of Valletta/Malta and the Cruise Manager of the port of Civitavecchia/Rome. The three top executives shared on this webcast their experience and know-how on the resumption of the 2020 cruises with the other ports of Medcruise.

5) Business Development/discussions of HPO S.A. with cruise companies in view of the 2021 and 2022 cruise seasons:

Mr. Minas Papadakis, HPO S.A. CEO has already entered in discussions (held at top management level), with selected cruise lines, evaluating possibilities for future long term business cooperation and presenting the advantages of Heraklion as a port of call (homeport or transit port) for 2021 and mainly for 2022 seasons. The content of these discussions as one can understand is fully confidential. We can be cautiously optimistic, that unless something dramatic changes on the epidemiological front, we may have very pleasant surprises in terms of increasing cruise ship calls in the next few months in Heraklion, as soon as Greek ports will open for cruise ships.