International arrivals at Athens International Airport were up by 10 percent last month compared to the same month last year, according to data released recently by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).
SETE’s president, Andreas Andreadis, told the Greek press that the May 2013 data showed the first increase of tourists visiting the Greek capital in three years.
Athens’ image is slowly improving to tourism markets abroad and -according to the City of Athens- this is due to the fact that for the past eight months there have been no “serious incidents” in the city center (street riots, etc).
However, according to the president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Yiorgos Tsakiris, more effort is required for Athens to operate as an “independent tourism destination.”
More promotion needed
A recent survey of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels showed that 40 percent of the tourists visiting Athens do not know that the city has access to a beach area.
Another 60 percent have no idea that the closest island to Athens is only a half hour away by boat.
Mr. Tsakiris underlined that the data from the survey clearly showed the lack of information spread to markets abroad on what Athens can offer its foreign visitors.
According to the press, the City of Athens is planning to invite tourism entrepreneurs and journalists to Athens from target markets such as the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China.
Athens’ best tourism season was considered 2008, when the city welcomed 3.5 million tourists. Last year the Greek capital welcomed only 2.7 million visitors from abroad.