The year 2005 was characterized as the turning point and the beginning of an upward trend for Greek tourism with incoming tourism increasing by about eight percent was the conclusion of the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts’ (ITEP) recent study.
Last year was the first year that a significant change was experienced in relation to the negative trends of the previous five-year period.
In 2005, the unprecedented government actions to boost tourism in Greece through advertising and promotion made the difference. The ITEP study cautions that advertising and promotion alone cannot create or maintain satisfactory levels of tourism development. Statistics prove that lack of quality and quantity are factors that cause negative developments.
The decline of foreign tourism in Greece during the 2000-2004 period was also due to a general decline in the tourism product as a whole, as well as government inaction regarding the need to upgrade the average for hotels and services. At that time, about 2/3 of the hotels did not meet modern international requirements in terms of size and category.
This decline in the Greek tourism product in comparison to competing countries resulted in losses of many billion of euros, which will continue in the near future despite the fact that the average level of hotel is no longer lower than that of the southeast Europe and Mediterranean region.
During the 2000-2004 period, the number of international tourists remained unchanged, while overnight stays declined. Last year, tourism arrivals increased by five percent while cash inflow increased by 6.7 percent.
Factors contributing to the turnaround were the upgrades made to Athens and other regions of Greece, as well as an increase in domestic travel.
The study found that the positive trend set by 2005 appears to be a forecast of the years to come, and is dependent on the continued efforts to improve the quality of the infrastructure and the environment, the value for money, advertising and promotion.
Also, the forecast is dependent on the condition that the bird flu can be contained.