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Athens Hotels After the 2004 Olympics

Athens 2004 Olympic GamesA report was recently released in regards to the effects the Athens 2004 Olympic Games had on the hotels of the Greek capital.

According to the report, hotel performance in Athens compared with that of two competitive sets of 27 European and eight Mediterranean cities for the 2003-2007 period saw that occupancy of Athenian hotels increased significantly after the Olympics of 2004. This increase reached the average European level and exceeded that of the Mediterranean in 2007.

In addition, the average room rate followed the European and Mediterranean trends but still remains at a lower level. As a result of trends in occupancy and average room rate, the revenue per available room remains lower than that of Europe and the Mediterranean but the difference is slowly in retreat.

The occupancy of Athenian hotels (3- to 5-star) increased from around 62 percent over the period 2003-2005 to 68 percent in 2006 and almost 71 percent in 2007, slightly below the European average but above the Mediterranean level in that year.

While in terms of occupancy, Athens improved its position in comparison with both competitive sets, and the average room rate remains stable after 2004. The report said that Greece hoped that after the Olympic Games in Athens its hotel performance would exceed that of Europe and the Mediterranean.

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On the other hand, the period before the Olympic Games is considered disastrous for Athenian hotels and the 2004 Olympics marked a clear change of course.

Long-term trends of the 1980 and 1990 decades had been a disaster as Athens in 1980 had 8.9 million overnight stays and in 2003 only 4.5 million. This resulted in the closure of 85 hotels of different categories within the 1980 and 1990 decade.

In conclusion, the report says that the Olympic Games marked a turning point for the Athens hotel industry but could have had achieved more if conference tourism had been developed and a better marketing strategy was implemented for the promotion of Athens as a destination (e.g. to the standards of Barcelona).

The report also mentioned that a UBS study showed that a city break in Athens was among the five cheapest of the 27 cities of the European competitive set and the cheapest in the competitive set of the Mediterranean.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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