Targeting markets in the Balkans, Middle East and Turkey and attracting international hotel brands will help place the northern port city of Thessaloniki among the top tourist destinations, tourism consultants HVS said in a recent report.
Thessaloniki authorities should focus on the Balkan, Middle East and Turkish markets, employ the city’s cultural attractions and improved infrastructure and boost the presence of international hotel operators if they wish to create an attractive tourist product, HVS Global Hospitality Services said in its Global Hospitality Report released earlier this month.
According to the report, regional authorities’ efforts in this direction have already paid off with a notable increase in stay-overs by tourists headed for the popular Halkidiki peninsula. Year-to-August data reveal a 17.9 increase in total hotel bed nights compared to the same period in 2013, with October being the city’s top performing month. The report also noted an 11.9% increase in international flights to the Thessaloniki Macedonia Airport for September 2014, compared to the same month last year.
Vital to promoting Thessaloniki as a major player and placing it among the region’s hotspots requires all tourism-related entities and authorities to work in a concerted and coordinated manner, the report said.
Thessaloniki also stands to gain by attracting international brands to its Metropolitan area, forming synergies to expand their presence in Greece and in turn attract international tourists wishing to stay longer and spend more in the city.
According to the report, in 2013, 17.9 million tourists visited the country, spending 12 billion euros compared to 10.4 billion in 2012. HVS estimates that for 2014, over 19.5 million tourists will be coming to Greek shores, 21.5 million of which on cruise liners.
Established in 1980, the New York-based consulting firm specializes in providing services and solutions to the hospitality industry in over 60 countries.