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Arrival Figures Remain Steady

Greece’s tourism industry is expected to host about the same level of visitors as last year, but prospects regarding revenue are less certain.

Vassilis Minaidis, president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers Federation, says one of the main characteristics of this year’s tourist season has been the extensive discounting practice that began in July.

“The result has been a recovery in certain areas which had fallen behind in the number of visitors, but this has not been necessarily matched by a rise in revenues,” he says.

He points out that in the case of arrivals from Germany, where the largest shortfall had  been recorded up to June, the discounts that began in early summer mainly attracted young people aged 16-25, who are not a significant source of revenue.

Rodos and Crete, which are among the relatively more expensive areas, faced the greatest pressure. However, latest reports from lodging units on Rodos show a 100% occupancy rate for the island during July and the first weeks of August. September and October appear to be excellent months as well, according to the Rodos newspaper, Dimokratiki.

And although no figures are available for Crete, initial reports from Heraklion show at least a substantial increase in air and sea traffic to the port. Island press reports, however, stress that during the month of August many islanders head out for other parts of Greece for their annual summer vacation, which may be responsible at least in part for the increase.

Other Greek destinations, such as Samothrakis, say arrival numbers for July and August are up appreciatively. But other areas, such as Corfu, consider this year’s arrival numbers to be on the same level as last year with an increase in British travelers and a decrease in German holidaymakers.

In the meantime, Mr. Minaidis says he considers the cost of the Greek package holiday high because of airfares, a problem that Turkey and Cyprus countered by subsidizing seats. Greece is planning to follow suit with 40 euros per seat for the November-March period. As regards the contracts already signed between Greek hoteliers and foreign tour operators for the next season, press reports say the price increases average 3 percent.

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