On the occasion of the Philoxenia Tourism Exhibition, it is an opportune time to reflect on our all-time record for Greece’s tourism this year.
We should acknowledge the parallel development of new air routes, such as Kalamata, plus increased frequencies to popular island destinations by foreign carriers, as well as Aegean’s rapid expansion overseas. This intense airline activity, not only provided enough capacity to cater for the increased demand of incoming tourism to Greece, but also created additional traffic to the Peloponnese greater area as a new destination for the years to come.
Thus, the importance of airline supply and direct correlation to tourism is more than evident than before, especially, when compared with the previous lean years.
There are two important investments that should help us sustain and increase further our tourism receipts: Hotels should be able to get access to bank loans to enable them to invest in renovations, urgently needed in Athens in particular and elsewhere. Regional airports are still underperforming, awaiting privatizations. Major hubs such as Heraklion and Chania are in dire need for improved facilities both structural and vital passenger services. Athens International Airport charges should become more competitive, so that our capital can exploit its unlimited year-round potential. Spatosimo tax should be lowered, per our PM’s promise a year ago.
In conclusion, it should be clear to the government that tourism is directly dependent on aviation, as much as it is on facilities on the ground such as hotels, passenger shipping, museums etc.
Long term investment plans are vital for all tourism related services, if we want to consolidate our tourism success and draft our own road map for the future. Instead of relying on regional crises to increase our market share.