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Thessaloniki: Once Isn’t Enough… Tourists Come Back for More

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The northern port city of Thessaloniki is winning tourists over as well as their loyalty for its “personality”, according to a study presented on Tuesday by the Thessaloniki Hotels Association (THA) during an event at The Met Hotel.

GBR Consulting Director Stefan Merkenhof (second from right) with the Thessaloniki Hotels Association's vice president, Konstantinos Tornivoukas; president, Aristotelis Thomopoulos; and secretary general, Andreas Mandrinos.

GBR Consulting Director Stefan Merkenhof (second from right) with the Thessaloniki Hotels Association’s vice president, Konstantinos Tornivoukas; president, Aristotelis Thomopoulos; and secretary general, Andreas Mandrinos.

The survey, jointly carried out by the THA and solutions consultants GBR Consulting between October 2015 and January 2016, examined visitor satisfaction among 1,100 participants. One in two holidaymakers (43 percent) said they had returned to Thessaloniki after their first visit and also awarded high marks to the city’s entertainment options, gastronomy and culture. Meanwhile, 95 percent of those visiting the city for leisure and 94 percent on business said they would strongly recommend the destination to friends and relatives.

THA board president Aristotelis Thomopoulos described the figures as a  “feat”, adding that “the results are not about coincidences or luck, but about hard work and gradual progress towards ‘building’ the image of the destination [Thessaloniki], which still needs further development and initiatives in order to establish it among the most popular and attractive international city break destinations”.

Mr Thomopoulos also expressed his concern over the recent decision of UK residents to exit the EU, adding that the repercussions are multifold for the Greek market, creating insecurity in the sector.

GBR Consulting Director Stefan Merkenhof

GBR Consulting Director Stefan Merkenhof

“Based on the survey results, Thessaloniki is an attractive destination. The city’s ‘personality’ is what leisure travelers cite as the main reason they visited and apparent from the public rating they are very satisfied with their experience in Thessaloniki, with leisure travelers awarding the an 8.2 (on a scale of 10) and business visitors an 8.1,” GBR Consulting Director Stefan Merkenhof said.

Mr Thomopoulos was quick to point out, however, that despite the positive feedback on the port city’s hotel facilities and services, revenue still remains low. “Despite the slight increase in occupancy levels, the average room rate and revenue per available room (RevPAR) are still low, ranking Thessaloniki last compared to similar European cities.”

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