The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels recently held its final meeting for 2007 in the presence of Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos and the political leadership of the Greek National Tourism Organization.
During the meeting, president of the chamber, Gerasimos Fokas, outlined tourism movement in 2007 and concluded that “tourism increases in 2008 is anticipated to remain at the same level as in 2007, that is, between five and six percent.” This conclusion however, “predisposes no negative effects on the tourism sector as a whole.”
Mr. Fokas explained, “This prediction is based on one parameter that determines tourism development in Greece, whose two components are the realized number of overnight stays in tourism accommodation and revenue received during the same period.” These results, according to the chamber, show an unequal development between the former and the latter.
According to statistics collected by the National Bank of Greece in December, tourism revenue between January and October 2007 amounted to 11,028 billion euros, when during the same period in 2006, tourism revenue reached 10,921 billion euros. This one percent increase, according to Mr. Fokas, does not meet the optimistic rate of the increase in arrivals, which surpassed five percent in 2007. Mr. Fokas explained, “This asymmetry between arrivals and revenue constitutes one of the complicated problems in Greek tourism, and indicates a series of chronic weaknesses in the sector.”
The chamber also found asymmetry in the number of arrivals and overnight stays in 2007. According to statistics on the aforementioned collected by the General Secretariat of National Statistical Service of Greece for the first half of 2007, two negative characteristics could be identified.
During the period January-June 2007, 14% more foreigners stayed in hotels compared with the same period in 2006. However, according to the chamber, overnight stays increased by only 9.2%.
Mr. Fokas identified this as part of a trend in decreasing number of overnight stays, that is, 4.8 days per arrival on average in 2006 compared with 4.6 days per arrival in 2007. Within this framework, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels has commissioned the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting to conduct a study in tourism revenue, overnight stays and other critical characteristics of foreign arrivals so as to present the state with tangible proposals to counter this phenomenon.
During the meeting, the chamber also requested definitive action to be taken on specific key issues. These include the final framework for the zoning plan, a coherent plan of action for the five billion euros received from the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) initiative and actions taken in the field of air transport particularly with regard to the recent developments in Olympic Airways.