The international economic crisis is expected to cause a 25 to 40 percent drop in tourism traffic to Rethymno, Crete, as countries such as the U.K. and Germany are shying away to cheaper non-euro destinations, say the island’s tour operators.
Tour operators in Rethymno have started procedures to renegotiate prices that have already been agreed upon and have launched an effort to convince shipping companies to launch an itinerary from the Port of Rethymno.
On the other hand, Chania has invested some 550,000 euros to promote the tourism product of the prefecture for 2009.
Prefect Grigoris Archontakis recently outlined the new tourism strategy for 2009, namely the “promotional committee for the prefecture.” Mr. Archontaki, who chairs the committee, said that among the committee’s responsibilities is the promotion of the prefecture’s agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the president of the Hoteliers Association of Heraklio, Nikiforos Lambrinos, said that only a few hotels on Crete have received grants and are able to proceed with the customary renovation of their hotels and offer modern services to tourists.
As in Rethymno, the tour operators in Heraklio have demanded up to 30 percent price reductions from the hoteliers in an effort to maintain reservations at last year’s level.
Tour operators on Crete also made note of the tough competition from non-euro countries (Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Croatia), as the destinations provide the same product -sun and sea- but with much lower prices because of low labor costs and low insurance deductions.