The Development Company of the Cyclades conducted a two-year study to identify the characteristics of tourism within the Cyclades. The specific case study centered on Santorini. Some 4,250 people participated in the research that took place in 2005/2006 and covered the months of April to October.
The methodology of the research chose Santorini as the first case study for its geographical position, variety of tourist origins and its accessibility through variety of transportation. Consequently the collection of data originated from three distinct locations: the airport, the harbor and tourists on foot.
The tourist profile indicates according to the results, that more men than women visit with a ratio of 55:45. Five out of ten are less than 35 years old. The results also show that more than half of visitors are not married. Six out of ten visitors are of Greek origin whilst the rest are primarily Italian, English, Spanish, French, American, Australian and German.
Transport characteristics from the research indicate that Greeks prefer the sea route for their arrival and departure with catamaran, ferry and dolphin, with a ratio of 8:10. Foreign tourists share their preferences between sea and air transport.
The primary reason for visiting Santorini is for vacation, for both Greek and foreign travelers. Greek tourists begin to prepare their visit on average 20 days before their arrival whereas this is more than double for foreign tourists who begin their preparation on average 45 days before arrival.
Greek tourists use different sources to collect information for their visit such as asking acquaintances that have already visited the island. Foreign visitors primarily use the Internet, travel guides and tour operators to collect information.
The majority of travelers organize their trip on their own and rely on travel agencies only for their tickets to and from Santorini. Only three out of ten foreigners buy an all- inclusive package from a tour operator.
Santorini seems to be the most desired destination for Greek travelers since half of them had visited on average 2.7 times and the other half had visited once only. Furthermore, two out of ten foreign travelers had visited Santorini more than once.
The research was conducted as part of a wider aim for the Peripheral Active Innovation Program of the South Aegean. Data was collected for the profile of travelers, transport characteristics, consumer behavior and an assessment of the services provided.