Tourism Sector Good But Needs Improvement
Domestic tourists, and some foreign visitors, are not happy with the services offered by Greek tourism enterprises. According to the General Federation for Consumer Protection in Greece (INKA), initial data show the tourism sector as a whole needs to upgrade its services and find ways to counter profiteering. Complaints up until early August numbered 4,222.
But two out of every three complaints came from domestic travelers who had visited Heraklion, the Cyclades, Chalkidiki, Corfu and Chania. And their main complaint was the huge number of “opportunity” tourism businesses that spring up during the summer months to utilize profiteering at the tourist’s expense.
Other complaints centered on high prices for Greek holidaymakers when compared with prices paid by foreign visitors who had arrived on a package.
Foreign travelers centered their complaints on services that for the most part were unacceptable. But when the number of complaints from this group is a mere 1,098, that number is negligible when compared with the millions of tourists that arrive from abroad. This must mean that services for the most part are up to par and that government inspection is at least adequate, but that policing at some destinations is not.
Actually, inspectors from the Hellenic Tourism Organization have more than doubled their inspections of tourism-related businesses during the summer months, from 356 to 758. And the organization’s president, Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, said inspections would expand even further until around the end of September.
In the meantime, data from the organization show that 377 hotel units throughout the country were checked for quality of services during the month of June, compared with about 133 in May. Of these, 108 were found satisfactory, while 109 were told they could do much better. Some 30 units were fined or issued strict warnings to improve.
Travel agencies inspected in June reached 75 and of these only slightly better than half were found to be satisfactory. Eight were either fined or issued strict warnings to improve.
Similar results were recorded after inspections of rent-a-car agencies and entertainment centers, but camping sites were found to be the worse off. Of 16 inspected, a mere two were found to be satisfactory.
Excellent results, on the other hand, came from inspections at rented rooms where 21 of the 30 inspected were found satisfactory. Better still were tourism coaches. Of the 18 inspected, all were found satisfactory, as were the country’s small-size tour boats.
In the meantime, Development Ministry officials urged tourists to be particularly careful about offers in newspaper or magazine supplements during the summer period. They said that some of these articles may have been written by people not well acquainted with the industry or may be misleading advertising.
They advised some prior research regarding prices and services. Officials said the ministry intends to intensify checks, but experience has shown these cannot cover the entire country. Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis pointed out that even many gas stations have violated recent agreements on prices.