Athens Tourism Sees Slight Increase Due To Calm Image
The fact that Athens is showing a calmer image and no longer making headlines that refer to strikes, demonstrations and street riots has contributed to the rise in tourism in the Attica region, Greek hoteliers informed journalists during a recent press conference.
Hotels in Athens-Attica saw a 8.1 percent increase in average occupancy and a 5.8 percent rise in revenue per available room during the January-August 2013 period when compared to the first eight months of 2012.
According to the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association, this is the first sign of growth for the region’s hotels after six years.
To further boost arrivals to the Greek capital, the association has launched various promotional actions, with the first results expected to show next year.
According to the association’s president, Alexandros Vasilikos, the association so far has organized 20 familiarization trips of foreign journalists to Athens and hosted some 250 travel agents to promote the destination.
Mr. Vasilikos said the association was also cooperating with airlines such as Aegean, Air France and Austrian for the promotion of the Greek capital.
Although things may seem to be looking up for the Greek capital in terms of arrivals, especially during the last four months, the association’s president said the city’s hotels still faced the threat of shutting down.
Over the past six years, 89 hotels of all categories with a capacity of 6,872 beds have shut down in the Attica region due to the pressure created by the crisis as the main reason.
In Athens alone, 29 hotels have called it quits, out of which 26 are small units of three stars or less.
Illegal accommodation “units”
Mr. Vasilikos also referred to the existence of hundreds of illegal accommodation “units” in Athens that also leads to considerable losses in tax revenue for the state and revenue for hoteliers. These are privately owned apartments or houses that are advertised on the Internet and rented to travelers by the day.
According to the association’s president, if the owners of the illegal “hotels” are tracked down they would each have to pay a 50,000 euros fine to the Greek state.