Discounts and special travel packages offered by tourism enterprises to attract last-minute tourists were the main reasons that Greece recorded an increase in arrivals in September, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) said on Thursday.
SETE said that the last-minute bookings that formed September’s arrivals were reinforced by the fact that key competitive destinations had experienced a significant decline in demand, while some of Greece’s competitors were already booked and therefore much more expensive in regards to any availability.
According to released data from the country’s main airports covering the first nine months of the year, international air arrivals to Greece showed a 7.6 percent increase to 1.06 million. Μeanwhile, during the January-September period, road arrivals dropped by 1.3 percent or some by 129 thousand arrivals, compared with the same period of 2015.
During September, Crete, the Ionian and Cyclades attracted the most international air arrivals in the country with increases reaching 11.3 percent, 12.2 percent and 10.1 percent respectively, compared with September 2015.
Athens and Thessaloniki saw arrivals grow by 14.3 percent and 23.5 percent respectively, while arrivals to Kos, Samos and Mytilini dropped 2.9 percent, 13.7 percent and 44.5 percent, respectively.
“However, while arrivals are showing that they will reach a new record level and tax revenues are growing due to the doubling of the VAT on tourism, enterprises must handle a completely different reality”, SETE said, adding that the majority of tourism businesses will record losses for another year due to their reduced prices and the overtaxation of the sector.
The confederation called for the government to restore the country’s tourism competitiveness by lowering tax rates and creating an environment to attract investments.