Greece should expect some 800,000 tourist arrivals from Serbia this year, according to the Central Macedonia prefect Apostolos Tzitzikostas.
Speaking at an event held on the sidelines of the International Fair of Tourism in Belgrade ITTFA on Friday, February 19, Mr Tzitzikostas said that the vast majority of Serbian tourists will visit Central Macedonia, which is among their most preferred holiday destinations.
He also made special mention to the potential of Thessaloniki becoming a major tourism magnet for Serbs, both because of the significant infrastructure — for conference and city break tourism — and because of the monuments that demonstrate the ties of the two peoples which date back centuries ago.
The prefect also proposed the creation of a joint Central Macedonia–Belgrade tourist package that would open up new avenues for cooperation between the two regions.
Serbia is considered an important source for the Greek tourism market. According to data of border surveys, the vast majority of Serbian tourists prefer traveling to Greece by car.
Moreover, statistics show that the most popular holiday spots for Serbian travellers are destinations in Northern Greece followed by islands in the Aegean.
Thessaloniki @ ITTFA
Serbia is one of Thessaloniki’s traditional markets, according to the city’s hotel association. “Serbia has a timeless and constant presence in Thessaloniki and its travellers are among those that make the most overnight stays in the city”, the association said in an announcement.
The Thessaloniki Hotels Association participated in the ITTFA with a stand in the Greek section and promoted fresh city break ideas to Serbian visitors. The hoteliers highlighted the advantages of the destination such as its easy access from Serbia and the many options available to visitors such as shopping, entertainment, Mediterranean cuisine, wine, history and culture.
Aiming to upgrade the quality of the tourism product and to support the local economy of Thessaloniki, the city’s hoteliers are aiming this year to attract high-end Serbian visitors who will be able to spend more money on activities in the city.
Halkidiki @ ITTFA
Another destination of Northern Greece that is quite popular among the Serbs is Halkidiki.
The Halkidiki Tourism Organization participated in the ITTFA expo with its own stand and hosted some of the destination’s leading travel agencies such as Filos Holidays & Travel, Bros Travel, Meli Tours and Mouzenidis.
“Over the past years, these travel agencies have helped greatly to establish Halkidiki as the first choice destination of Serbian tourists”, the organization said.
According to local travel agents and tour operators, Halkidiki this year is expected to record a small increase in arrivals from Serbia compared with 2015, despite concerns expressed in regards to the Greek farmers closing the borders of the two countries.
Skiathos @ ITTFA
When it comes to islands, data shows that Skiathos in the Sporades is among top choices of Serbian tourists.
The island participated in the ITTFA expo with a stand in the Greek section which was manned by the president of the municipality’s tourism development committee, Panos Diolettas.
During the exhibition, Mr Diolettas welcomed to the stand the Greek Ambassador in Belgrade Konstantinos Economidis and the head of the Serbian Tourism Organization Tamara Raskovic.
Belgrade’s ITTFA is the largest tourism event in Serbia and Southeast Europe. In 2015, more than 1,000 exhibitors featured their offers at the tourism fair and the number of visitors exceeded 62,000. The event’s international character is confirmed by more than 290 international exhibitors from 53 countries. The IFT ran February 18-21.