Tourism flows across the Eastern Aegean islands, which bore the brunt of the refugee crisis in the past two years, have begun to pick up pace, according to sector professionals.
The island of Kos is seeing a significant rise and charter flights to Lesvos have also increased.
“Last year, charter flights to the island dropped by 60 percent,” Lesvos Hoteliers Association President Pericles Antoniou told Greek daily Naftemporiki.
“This year, things appear to have improved… charter routes have increased to 16 and we expect them to reach 18 compared to 10 last year, while Fraport data also backs that up,” he said.
“In May 2015, we had 85 flights, in 2016, 39 and this year in the same month 90. We want to see if these numbers correspond to our hotel reservations as well.”
On the downside, however, according to the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH), contrary to other Greek destinations, the number of hotel units in operation on Lesvos since the beginning of 2010 have dropped.
Indicatively, in 2010, 147 units in Lesvos were listed with the association with a total of 4,502 rooms and 8,673 beds. In 2016, there were 108 hotels listed, 11 of which were 4-star and below with 3,476 rooms and 6,637 beds.
On Kos, meanwhile, the overall picture is better with the president of the Hoteliers Association of Kos, Konstantina Svinou telling Naftemporiki that bookings are increasing by 18.5 percent close to 2015 levels. She did however note that individual travelers are still lagging taking a toll on revenue. Svinou said she expects the number of arrivals to grow by 20 percent this year.
Contrary to Lesvos, the number of hotels on Kos has increased over the last decade.
At the same, time in efforts to boost tourist traffic to the islands, Blue Star Ferries in collaboration with local authorities and tourism professionals is for a second year offering 30 percent discounts to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Leros and Kos.