Traditional winter destinations across Greece welcomed a rise in visitors over the holidays while tourism professionals are already speaking of positive pre-bookings for the summer ahead.
The Zagori region, Kalavryta and Thessaloniki saw the number of tourists increase and hotels fully booked. Indicatively, arrivals grew by 5.5 percent in the northern port city, against 2015. Speaking to Athens News Agency radio, Thessaloniki Hotels Association President Aristotelis Thomopoulos said overnight stays also increased attributing the results to a 10.5 percent rise in domestic tourism, adding that visitors from the Balkans and Turkey have been rising over the last two years. Hotel capacity, he said, reached 90 percent during the Christmas period.
Kalavryta, meanwhile, and its popular ski resort also welcomed a greater number of tourists over the holidays. Speaking to the Athens News Agency the town’s mayor, George Lazouras, said the ski resort has contributed greatly to the promotion of the entire region, boosting the local economy through the network of businesses it supports. The mayor added that once the infrastructure and Olympia Odos motorway is in place he expects incoming tourism to soar as Kalavryta will be more accessible.
The Zagori villages in northern Greece also experienced a rise in incoming tourism with high hotel occupancy levels and professionals there expressing their satisfaction. Zagori Mayor Vassilis Spyrou said they “managed to breathe a sigh of ‘economic’ relief and continue with optimism into the new year”. Spyrou underlined that the Zagori villages are known for their all-year operations and quality offerings, which he said were a result of close collaboration with all parties involved.
Pre-bookings on the Positive
Meanwhile, Greek Tourism Confederation President Andreas Andreadis (photo) sent out a message of optimism via his Twitter account on Tuesday, saying that pre-bookings from international markets were moving at a satisfactory rate but that the growing destabilization in neighboring Turkey “is not good news for our tourism”.
Tour operators have already seen a rising trend in reservations, up by 20 percent compared to last year, for the summer of 2017 primarily from the German and UK markets with many Britons checking out Greek destinations. Greece topped the searches by thomascook.com users on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, accounting for 17 percent of all searches. At the same time, Greece will be the fourth favorite destination of British holidaymakers (at 13 percent) in 2017, according to the latest research carried out by Mortar on behalf of ATOL. Spain (28 percent) was first, Italy (19 percent) second and the US (18 percent) third.