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Travel & Tourism industry news by Greek Travel Pages (gtp)

Greek Tourism Determined to Stay Afloat

Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos during the inauguration ceremony of the 14th Touristiko Panorama.

Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos during the inauguration ceremony of the 14th Touristiko Panorama.

The 14th Touristiko Panorama had fewer participating exhibitors than previous years and limited activities but once again gave travel professionals the opportunity to increase business deals and meet with potential clients.

This year’s Touristiko Panorama, organized by Kalofolia Express Group, took place at the ExpoAthens exhibition center in Anthousa, eastern Attica, during 7-10 May and provided free entrance to the public.

The general public mainly visited the exhibition center over the weekend and was informed on prospective holiday destinations, new offers, bargains and new forms of tourism.

With the participation of exhibitors from Greece, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, the main topic for discussion was the issue of the global economic crisis.

During the inauguration ceremony of the fair, Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos informed the audience that Greek tourism has proven that not only can it survive the global economic crisis but can also minimize its impact on domestic tourism.

Mr. Markopoulos underlined that, according to tourism professionals arrivals are expected to drop 10-15 percent as opposed to the 30-40 percent forecast made during the first months of 2009.

Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos greeted Greek Travel Pages Publisher Maria Theofanopoulou at the GTP stand and exchanged ideas on tourism issues.

Tourism Minister Kostas Markopoulos greeted Greek Travel Pages Publisher Maria Theofanopoulou at the GTP stand and exchanged ideas on tourism issues.

The tourism minister also informed that Greece saw the lowest drop of incoming tourism bookings throughout the Mediterranean basin in March while tourism traffic moved to even better levels in April.

In regards to domestic tourism Mr. Markopoulos underlined that Greeks would find various vacation options, accommodation and tourism services.

On his part, Yiorgos Kalofolias, chief executive officer of Kalofolia Express Group, referred to the special importance tourism has on the national economy and Greece’s development.

He also emphasized the key role domestic tourism plays for the regional development of Greece and for the support of local communities.

In addition, Kapa Research revealed that Greeks appear very reserved in regards to their holiday plans for this year, according to its recent survey “Greek Tourist Behaviour Trends for 2009.”

The major conclusion of the survey was that one in three Greeks claim that they are planning either an inexpensive or a shorter summer holiday for 2009.

In regards to the global economic crisis and its impact on Greek tourism, the majority of the survey’s respondents (64.3 percent) consider that a reduction in tourist traffic will occur but it will not be as tragic as the predictions say.

The majority of respondents (59.6 percent) believe that a drastic reduction in prices is the most appropriate move on behalf of the tourism industry.

According to data released from the survey, 52 percent would take a similar vacation to last year, as opposed to 70 percent that answered the same question in last year’s survey.

The Attica Group stand with Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries.

The Attica Group stand with Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries.

In regards to the question “how many days will your summer vacations last?” the percentage of those who said their vacations would last a week at the most increased to 27.6 percent from 19.7 in 2008.

Also increased (63.8 percent) was the percentage of Greeks that replied that their vacation would last two to three weeks (59.2 percent in 2008).

A major reduction is noticed in regards to holidays that would last longer than a month as only 3.1 percent of respondents considered this likely as opposed to 21.1 percent last year.

Statistics also revealed how much money Greek travellers are willing to spend this summer.

Twenty three percent of those who will travel this year claimed they would spend up to 600 euros, 21.4 percent would spend from 601 to 900 euros and 18.5 would spend from 900 to 1,200 euros.

Bigger spenders said they would spend 1201 to 1500 euros (12 percent), 1501 to 2000 euros (12.4 percent), 2001 to 3000 euros (8.4 percent) and 4.1 percent would spend more than 3001 euros.

According to Kapa Research, when compared with last year’s results those that would spend up to 900 euros increased from 39.7 percent to 44.4 percent.

Mary Papadopoulou (Fivos Tours) with Evdokia Vouvali and Nikolaos Papadopoulos (Kalymnos Municipality) at the stand of the Prefecture of the Dodekanissos who informed visitors of the island group's alternative forms of tourism.

Mary Papadopoulou (Fivos Tours) with Evdokia Vouvali and Nikolaos Papadopoulos (Kalymnos Municipality) at the stand of the Prefecture of the Dodekanissos who informed visitors of the island group’s alternative forms of tourism.

The percentage of those that would spend over 900 euros was reduced to 55.6 percent from 60.3 percent last year.

As for accommodation options, interestingly enough 38.8 percent of respondents said that they would stay in a hotel during their summer vacation – an increase from last year’s 31.9 percent.

The option of renting a room dropped to 16.6 percent from 22.6 percent in 2008, while those who claimed that they would stay at a private summer house amounted to 38.6 percent, as opposed to 39.1 percent lat year.

In addition, the overwhelming majority of respondents revealed that they would surely not take out a loan if their finances do not permit them to go on holiday this year.

Tatianna Filippa of HATTA, with Lydia Mastronikoli and Dora Sgartsou of HAPCO at the common stand of the two associations.

Tatianna Filippa of HATTA, with Lydia Mastronikoli and Dora Sgartsou of HAPCO at the common stand of the two associations.

As for improvements that should be made for Greece’s tourism development the most popular answers were: improved behavior towards tourists and measures for the protection and cleanliness of tourist destinations.

Kapa Research also provided the five most popular destinations for 2009 with the Cyclades group in the lead with 13 percent followed by Peloponissos (11.2 percent), the Ionian Islands (9.4 percent), Chalkidiki (7.0 percent) and Crete (6.6 percent).

Greeks that are determined to holiday away from home amount to 8.9 percent while some 16 percent answered that they have not decided where they will go yet.

A total of 2,231 people took part in the survey, which was conducted in Greece from 27 April to 5 May.

Honored Destinations at this Year’s Tourism Fair

Cyclades – Each Island Is…A World Of Its Own

The Cyclades Island group was set up in one booth, designed and assembled in a central spot of the exhibition space under the management of the Cyclades prefecture. According to the Cyclades Development Company’s manager for tourism issues, Eleni Prochori, the company is in the process of promoting thematic forms of tourism besides the well-known “sun and sea” advantages of the island group.

Lakonia – From Myth Till Today

Greek journalists Chrysafgi Atsidakou and Fotini Makedonopoulou (left photo) presented a series of events on the occasion of the 100 years since the birth of Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos (1909-1990) in Monemvasia. Events included poetry readings, a choir and traditional dances. The Monemvasia Municipality will hold events from 3 June until August in memory of the well-known poet.

Xanthi – Live Your Holidays

This year’s Eurovision hostesses, Greek celebrity personas Mathildi and Betty Maggira (right photo), also known as “The Maggira sisters,” attended the stand of their birthplace, the Xanthi prefecture. They were on call during the first day of the fair and informed vistors and professionals of the beauties and comparative advantages of the prefecture. The prefect of Xanthi, Yiorgos Pavlidis, told journalists that thanks to the development of the Egnatia Odos motorway, Xanthi is an established 12-month tourist destination.

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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