Yachting is one of the main types of marine tourism in Greece and is popular amongst both Greeks and foreign visitors. Encompassing many different types of sailing and boating activities, the yachting industry in Greece has always enjoyed a competitive advantage compared to other countries and has made Greece an ideal place for marine tourism of every kind.
Greece’s healthy and sunny Mediterranean climate; the variety, beauty and pristine state of her seas; her 6,000 islands and islets; 16,000 km coastline and her warm and friendly people have created a perfect environment for enjoying and experiencing the sea. Visitors to Greece have many options for yacht chartering and boat cruises. Daily and multi-day tours and trips are offered on sailboats, catamarans, luxury yachts and motor boats which are chartered by yacht rental companies and private owners. A vast and varied selection of boats are offered for charter throughout the country, with or without crews, and with added services and amenities to match the full range of budgets.
Throughout the world Greece is known to be a totally safe destination for tourists, visitors and for the development of tourism related businesses. A favorable investment climate now exists that guarantees a level playing field and a healthy competitive environment for the profitable development of marinas and maritime tourism infrastructure, even compared to other countries with a longer history in this field. Marine tourism first appeared in Greece in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s, after the formation of the corresponding institutional framework through Law 438/1976, that the industry started to flourish and grow rapidly.
The Greek fleet of professional recreational boats consists of approximately 4,800 sailboats and motor boats and is the largest in the Mediterranean in terms of the number of vessels. Approximately 70% of the vessels in the fleet are sailing boats and the remaining 30% are motor boats. All of these vessels, irrespective of whether or not they are crewed, must carry the Greek Flag registration. The majority of these vessels are licensed for and capable of accommodating between 6 and 12 people.
Currently, the number of tourists participating in yachting in Greece represents approximately 0.9% of the annual total number of tourist arrivals. For example, out of the 30,000,000 tourists who visited the country in 2017, on an annual basis, some 270,000 participated in yachting. According to historical data the highest tourist arrivals take place during the months from April to October of each year.
With regards to yachting and the marine tourism sector, the market for chartering small and large sailing and motor boats has shown a steady upward trend since its inception. Proof of yachting’s importance and potential in Greece is the fact that the total number of charters over the past five years for which data are available has shown a cumulative increase of more than 40%. According to global industry trends and market estimates, the growth in the number of annual charters in Greece is forecast to continue. Pre-requisites for the sustainable future growth of Greece’s marine tourism are favorable market conditions in conjunction with concerted efforts by all stakeholders to develop the sector.