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Foreign tourists prefer Rhodes while Greeks prefer Peloponnese

27 August 2010 / 14:08:46  GRReporter
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Tourists continue to prefer the Aegean Sea islands for their vacation and despite the poor economic situation travel agents are optimistic that the season’s results at the end of August will be better than expected.

Initial conclusions show that the number of tourists has decreased slightly compared to the last year. The source countries also have changed as tourist flow from the former Soviet republics has highly increased. The president of the Union of Tourist Agencies George Telonis told the Athens News Agency that there are no major changes compared to the last year but revenues fell by 7% -9%, explaining that tourists generally have reduced their number of overnight stays.  

“What we notice in Athens is a 14% -15% drop in turnover compared to the last year,” said the general secretary of the Hotel Union Alexandros Vasilakos. The decrease in revenue from tourism is not only because of the “fall in hotel prices, but also because of the economic situation in the countries the tourists come from. Most of them are in a recession - in some it is greater, in others it is less compared to Greece,” said Mr. Telonis.

Mr. Vasilakos noted that the state has no tourism planning, adding that “the other Mediterranean countries, with which we can compare directly, have a strategy in terms of tourism, they set goals and know where they are going. We have not clarified what exactly we want.”

Dodecanese tourism develops the fastest – tourists to the islands of Rhodes and Kos have increased by more than 10%. This is the result of the continuous ads the local government supports but also of businessmen from the region. The data of the Diagoras Airport show that tourists to Rhodes increased by 10.5 percent in the first two weeks of August reaching 170,500 people while they were 154,000 people in the last year’s same period. In contrast to the increase of foreign tourists the flights from Greece to the island fell by 17%. The precision data show that 762,602 people came by charter flights to the island.

Despite the German media’s spoiling the image of Greece it is evident that the articles had no influence upon the German tourists and they remain faithful to the habit to rest on the Greek islands, especially Rhodes. There is increase in the number of Italian tourists that have abandoned the Greek destinations over the last years. English tourists have demonstrated their positive attitude to Rhodes again, and arrivals of Israelis increased by 34%. The French tourists increased by 55% but the percentage increase of Ukrainians - 428% and Russians - 77% is most impressive. It is noted that Slovenia, Lithuania, Hungary and Cyprus registered the largest decline in tourism to Rhodes. Despite the increase in tourist traffic to Rhodes and other islands of the Dodecanese, revenues decreased mainly due to reductions in prices of services told local businessmen, but also because of the widespread all inclusive packages that carry tourists away from taverns.  

Unlike Rhodes and Kos, Peloponnese this year recorded a 30% decline in tourists compared to the last year. “This year's season is doing well. The German market is opened, but we have many Greek tourists too due to the road built to Kalamata, but also to the Athens and Thessaloniki flight destinations,” said the chairwoman of the Municipal Commission on Tourism Andonia Bouza. This season’s results show that Greek tourism in the area increased and most people want to book all inclusive packages.  

Mid-August turned to be the time for Crete to take a breath too as 95% of hotel and rent rooms in Iraklio area were booked. According to travel agents on the island, if accounting the slight rise in tourism in July and the August and September movement, the season will end on the last year’s level. It is noted that many tourists to Crete prefer to stay with friends and relatives, while many tourists in the Chania region liked better to stay in nearby villages. According to initial estimates, the turnover of the island has fallen by 20% but most of the hotel and rent rooms were fully occupied in August. It is recorded that there were 20,000 tourists and 4,000 cars more in Chania than the last year. 15,000 passengers and 4,500 cars arrived at the Port of Suda only in the last week.  

Forecasts for one of the most beautiful tourist destinations, Hakidiki Peninsula, are not promising - the turnover of tourist companies fell by 30%. The expectations for the next two months are not optimistic either, said the President of the Hotel Union of the region Grigoris Tasios.

Tags: NewsTourismRhodesIslandsAirports
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