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ITEP Releases Latest Tourism Data

Although the Institute for Tourism Research has yet to receive clearance from the tourism ministry to take over as the official source of tourism arrival data and the like, as promised by the ministry, it came out last month with arrival statistics. With available data for the first 10 months of the year, it says foreign arrivals for 2005 should exceed the previous year’s by a bit more than 6%.

The institute said an unexpected drop in arrivals to Athens during the month of August forced it to adjust his annual forecast, which was for around a 7% increase. Tourism exchange, however, is expected to increase substantially as expected.

(Area’s that failed to see an increase in foreign arrivals included Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Samos, Kos and Mytilini.)
A good portion of the increase was attributed to government quarters that spent heavily, in comparison with other years, in advertising Greece abroad. Also mentioned was the government’s efforts to promote domestic travel last year, which kept many Greeks traveling at home rather than abroad and thus spending money at home rather than abroad.

However, the institute stressed that tourism activity in Greece is hardly what was expected, mainly because of a failure in past years to promote the sector. It did add that circumstances allow for a more optimistic view for this year.

As well, it stressed that a good advertising program by itself was not the answer for mid- and long-term tourism development.

“Greece requires serious quality development of its tourism product. Advertising is not and can not be a substitute for quality, nor can quality without promotion and advertising bring the desired results,” says Professor Panayiotis Pavlopoulos, director of the tourism research institute.

As far as 2006 is concerned, he said that it was difficult to foresee in which direction tourism would head because of general economic and political problems around the world. For the moment, he added, world tourism has shown amazing resilience in the face of terrorism and natural disasters. “If, however, fears of a worldwide epidemic come true, the results will be very negative.” Under normal circumstances, he said, we could expect to see a very good tourism year for Greece with increases in arrivals even higher than that of 2005. Reasons for such optimism include positive economic development, especially within the European Union countries, and the experience gained concerning the results of terror attacks.

The above, along with a continuation of strong advertising abroad, and the holding of lodging prices at their present level, said Professor Pavalopoulos, give us reasons for optimism, barring unforeseen circumstances.

He also mentioned the possibility of the strengthening of the dollar, which would make Europe more enticing for American travelers who spend more than any other visitor, and the spurt of development now being seen in the German economy, keeping in mind that Germany is our main source for visitors.

January-October Arrivals

Airport*(1) 2004 2005 %05/04
Athens(1) 3,325,164 3,627,997 9.1
Zakynthos 28-Μαρ 430,414 -5.1
Heraklion 1,880,432 1,999,546 6.3
Thessaloniki* 27-Αυγ 1,009,467 4.0
Corfu 823,867 850,935 3.3
Kefalonia 154,816 143,361 -7.4
Kos 18-Σεπ 606,874 -3.2
Mytilini 69,678 66,4 -4.7
Rodos 1,165,559 1,215,892 4.3
Samos 120,094 99,787 -16.9
Chania 531,838 554,722 4.3
Chios 15,466 13,389 -13.4
Total 10,138,372 10,618,784 4.7
* Total flights from abroad. (1) Jan.-Sept.

Arrival Changes in Competitive Markets

Croatia 6,80%
+8,1% (Total overnights)
Spain 6,30%
+6,5% (Total overnights)
Portugal +4,5% (Total overnights)
France +2,4% (Total overnights)
Italy 4,50%
Turkey 23%
Greece +6~6,5% (Annual estimate)
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