By Nikos Krinis
Demand for next year’s tourism season is showing an increase, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, said on Thursday.
Speaking during SETE’s annual Christmas press gathering, Andreadis did not make an official forecast but informed that the first indications of airline seat capacity for 2017 are optimistic, while early bookings from the British market are also on the up.
“Soon we will complete the data processing and be able to announce specific figures”, he said.
However, Andreadis highlighted that next year’s positive course will depend on the smooth development of the refugee-migration situation and the completion of Greece’s second evaluation by creditors.
As far as 2016 is concerned, he said, the year was marked by a new record in arrivals.
“I refer to this new record, not to celebrate but to acknowledge that our country has established the image and the perception that it is a unique tourism destination in the world and deserves to be among the top ten worldwide.”
On the other hand, Andreadis said that tourism revenue this year will not follow the course of arrivals. “We are waiting for the official data to find out the extent of the deviation from 2015”, he said, adding that tourism revenue was affected this year by overtaxation, the pan-European trend of decline in the average tourist spending, the decreased numbers of overnight stays and discounts made by businesses to attract last minute tourists.
Nevertheless, Andreadis said that 2016 was another year that tourism proved to be a “savior” for the country.
“Regarding state revenues, there is no doubt that a large portion of government revenue and a substantial part of the proceeds of social security funds were due to contributions and increased taxes of tourism enterprises”, he said, adding that tourism plays a crucial role especially in island and remote destinations.
“Despite seasonality, the contribution of tourism to the GDP of the South Aegean is 68 percent, 52 percent in Crete and 58 percent in the Ionian”, he said.
In regards to employment, SETE’s president said that currently those employed directly and indirectly in tourism in Greece are approaching 800,000 and that the number has the potential to exceed one million by 2021.