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Research Body ITEP: Still Many Pressing Issues in Greek Tourism

Tourists_syntagmaMismatching revenues with increasing number of arrivals, a decline in spending, fewer overnight stays and seasonal demand, continue to be pressing issues affecting Greece’s tourism sector, according to findings of the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP), released by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH).

ITEP found that in 2014, Greece saw a 23 percent rise in the number of arrivals of non-residents in relation to 2013, reaching 22 million, with travelers from Europe making up 88.4 percent of the total.

In terms of competitiveness, Greece recorded almost double the growth rate in the number of arrivals compared to rival Portugal, which grew by 12.9 percent, and three times the rate of Spain, which grew by 7.2 percent.

At the same time, direct tourism revenues in 2014 derived from non-residents came to 13 billion euros, up by 11.1 percent compared to 2013 (11.7 billion euros), while overnight stays increased by 15.3 percent.

On the downside however, despite the apparent growth in the number of arrivals, Greece saw decreased revenue, compared to rival Portugal, which despite a smaller increase in arrivals saw tourism revenues rise by 12.4 percent.

Consequently, Greece has has failed to gain from the increasing number of visitors as the average daily spending in 2014 came to 70.4 euros, down by 6.2 percent compared to 2013.

ITEP findings also reveal that Greek tourism continues to operate on a “seasonal” basis. Despite the 15.3 percent rise in the number of overnight stays by non-residents, the average occupancy of Greek hotels grew in 2014 by a mere 6.6 percent.

On a final note, with regard to competitiveness of the Greek tourism sector, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey for 2015, Greece ranks 31st worldwide and 18th in Europe with serious shortfalls in the business environment (104th), price competitiveness (113th place), road and port infrastructure (51st) and natural resources (46th).

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