Panorama Tourism Fair Premieres Olympic Greece
Visitors to this year’s tourism fair Touristiko Panorama get the first glimpse of “Olympic Greece” and also get the chance to form initial impressions on the tourism dimension of the greatest challenge facing the country in modern times.
This year’s Panorama, which will run from April 22-25 at the Piraeus Port Authority Exhibition Center, is dedicated to the Athens-Attica area and the network of Olympic Cities. Within the framework of “Greece 2004,” the fair’s organizers have created a special logotype that will be used on every piece of written or electronic promotion that concerns the Olympic Cities.
Tied to the above is a conference organized by Panorama in cooperation with the Hellenic Tourism Organization and the Greek Development Ministry. The conference, entitled “Tourism and Greece 2004: The Next Day,” centers on the development possibilities of tourism and the Greek Regions after the Olympic Games.
Panorama, now in its eighth year, concentrates on domestic tourism and its possibilities, especially with regards to special forms of tourism and regional tourism, as well as the future of Greek tourism. The fair may prove imperative for domestic travel this year. According to a recent survey by Kathimerini, this summer promises to be a difficult one for Greeks looking forward to a bit of sun and fun at one of the many holiday destinations around the country. The cost of lodgings seems to be rising uncontrollably with little thought for domestic the travelers who have always been the ailing tourism industry’s safety net.
Anyone planning a relaxing holiday to a Greek destination during the Olympic Games in August, on a sun-drenched beach away from the headache that Athens promises to be, might want to think again. Escaping the throngs that will be in the capital during the Games period will cost a pretty penny if current indications of skyrocketing prices are anything to go by.
In the survey of the tourism market conducted by Kathimerini in 20 better- and lesser-known destinations around the country, it was found that holidays this summer will be reserved only for those with a well-lined pocket book. Increased prices are also expected to apply to all modes of transportation though they have not been formally announced yet. As for traveling abroad instead, it seems no more appealing given that the cost of both sea and air travel is expected to rise by 30 percent.
After three “troubled” years, it is clear that the tourism industry in Greece is planning a massive counterattack, with August 2004 as its focal point.
Despite the fact that in the past few “crisis” years, domestic tourism was the Greek tourism industry’s only real safety net – because few Greeks would sacrifice their holidays even in hard times – this year, the country’s hoteliers are focusing almost exclusively on foreign tourism, regardless of whether domestic tourism can afford the new rates.
“We are not making reservations for individuals, only organized groups from abroad,” was the most common answer to inquiries during Kathimerini’s survey.
As far as the promised 10 percent reductions for Greek travelers are concerned, they comes as little relief since the hike in prices basically cancels out the difference.
One glaring example of these price hikes is a hotel complex on the island of Kos, which last summer priced its double rooms at 400 euros and this year is demanding 1,100 euros for the same facilities.
Similar cases were noted throughout the country, even at less popular destinations such as Lesvos, where the price of a double room at one of the island’s hotels has gone from 65 euros in 2003 to 103 euros this year.
Furthermore, there are many smaller hotels and pensions that have not issued their rates for this summer, waiting to see the general market trend.