Sector Study: Yachting & cruising
Boost in cruise arrivals in 2016 – Continued underperformance of the market of yacht charters
The domestic sector of yachting & cruising is examined in a recent study conducted by Infobank Hellastat S.A. According to Alexis Nikolaidis, Economic Research & Sectorial Studies Senior Analyst, in 2016, cruising in Greece was favored by the terrorist attacks and the attempt of a coup d’etat in Turkey, since these events led many companies to change their itineraries and move their ships away from the destinations of the neighboring country. As a result, Greek seaports hosted most of the cruise ships that remained in the area. In detail, 4,290 ships arrived; a number that remained unchanged, compared to 2015, and this consistency was followed by a slight increase in passenger arrivals by 4.8%, at 5.2m arrivals.
It should be noted, however, that in June 2016, obstacles arose in service at Piraeus port, because of the strike of port workers, in view of the port’s imminent privatization. Furthermore, a negative parameter has been the arrival of migrants and refugees at the islands of the Eastern Aegean, which resulted in changes in the ship itineraries, as well as a major drop in tourist traffic to those areas.
91% of visitors were transit travelers, while only 9% departed from a Greek seaport, indicating thus that Greece lags significantly behind in homeporting, and as a result, in income receipts.
In 2016, the turnover of the yachting sector further decreased by 18%, which is mostly attributed to the escalation of the refugee issue and the subsequent negative promotion for the country. At the same time, domestic marinas kept showing extremely low occupancy levels.
The sector is badly affected by the absence of an Electronic Registry for yachts and small vessels, in spite of its enactment in 2014, and as a result, an outbreak is noted in illegal yacht charters under non-EU flags.
According to Mr. Nikolas Gouzelos, CEO of Infobank Hellastat, “Greece has the potential to enjoy higher receipts from cruising, provided that it strengthens homeporting, where it has lagged significantly behind so far. Moreover, the implementation of an Electronic Registry for vessels will considerably restrict the loss of revenues for the State, as well as the phenomenon of illegal charters that takes place in the yachting market. In this way, the sector will be protected against any unfair competition from vessels under flags of third countries.”
In the study conducted by IBHS, an analysis is made of the financial statements of 26 companies. The key conclusions reached are summarized as follows:
• In 2015, Turnover was formed at €38.5m, having risen by 10.8% since 2014.
• EBITDA increased to €2.3m, from €0.7m in 2014, while pre-tax results were formed as marginal profits (amounting to only €0.1m), versus losses of €3m in the previous fiscal year.
• The EBITDA and EBT margins dropped to 3.6% and 0.3%, respectively.
• Capital leverage remained low, being formed at 0.5 over 1.