Another Strong Year Forecast for Greek Tourism
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises has forecast a rise of around 8 percent in tourism arrivals this year, with more than 14 million tourists visiting Greece. The association says that tourist arrivals were up 7.2 percent from a year ago in January-October, compared with a 5.6 percent rise in 2005, and that the trend is set to continue.
The Institute of Tourism Studies estimates that tourism accounts for about 18 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product and roughly one in five jobs. As well, it says the economy is expected to grow close to 4 percent in 2006, which will make it one of the fastest growing in the eurozone.
The tourism association’s president, Stavros Andreadis, says Greek tourism companies should use aggressive advertising and should develop better products so as to confront the euro’s recent strength versus the dollar, which hurts their competitiveness.
“The euro is becoming more and more expensive versus the dollar,” he says. “This means that all our competitors outside the eurozone, including Turkey, Egypt, the Caribbean and Asia, are becoming cheaper. We must try to enrich offerings to remain a top tourist destination.”
He added that some of Greece’s regional airports need a major revamp: “It is unacceptable for the island of Crete, one of Greece’s top tourist destinations, to have such a depressing airport.”