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Greek Tourism Rivals Turkey, Cyprus, Spain Make Comeback in 2018

Barcelona, Spain (pixabay)

Barcelona, Spain

Greece’s main tourism competitors appear to be recovering their share of the market with 11-month arrival figures indicating an upward trend for Turkey, Cyprus and Spain, Greek daily Naftemporiki reports.

More specifically, the number of international arrivals in Turkey are expected to reach 40 million, based on November 2018 figures. According to the country’s tourism ministry, a total of 37,537,696 travelers visited the country between January and November 2018, up by 22.25 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2017, while November alone saw figures reach 1,966,277, up by 18.97 percent against the same month in 2017.


Bodrum, Turkey

Tourism in the neighboring country in the 11-month period was mainly driven by Russian travelers at 5,865,466, up by nearly 1.2 million compared to 2017, Germans (4,334,067 versus 3,451,897 in 2017) and visitors form the UK (2,212,040 against 1,621,124 a year before). Leading destinations were Istanbul, which welcomed 12.35 million tourists, followed by Antalya (12.26 million) and Edirne (3.54 million).

Spain recorded 4.5 million international tourist arrivals in November 2018, up by 3.6 percent compared to the same month in 2017, with 11-month figures marking a slight 0.7 percent increase to 78.4 million travelers. Key markets for Spain last year were: the UK with over 17.6 million visitors, but down by 2 percent compared to the same period in 2017, followed by Germany (10.9 million, down by 4.7 percent) and France (10.8 million, up by 0.7 percent).

For the 11-month period in 2018, total tourism-related revenue in Spain increased by 2.8 percent compared to the corresponding period a year earlier to 84.811 million euros, with average daily spending per tourist up by 12.4 percent to 155 euros.

Cyprus also saw the number of tourist arrivals rise by 9.7 percent in November 2018 to 158,685, against 144,676 in the same month a year before and by 7.8 percent in the January-November 2018 period to 3,832,062 from 3,553,149 a year earlier.

Meanwhile Egypt is also gaining ground, while Portugal appears to have marked a decline in the number of arrivals for the first 10 months of 2017 for the first time since 2011.

Despite the performance in rival destinations and contrary to reports that Greece was benefitting from the instability in the region, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura stressed that the sector remained strong and will continue its upward trend into the new year. 

“It must be made clear,” Kountoura told the Athens News Agency, “that we are not targeting the same traveling market with our neighbors, nor are we seeking to get a share of holidaymakers seeking cheaper destinations. Instead, we are focusing on high-income visitors.”

At the same time, Greek tourism stakeholders have taken a reserved stance with regard to forecasts for 2019, citing the recovery of main competitors, as well as increased taxation impacting Greek entrepreneurs, and escalating Airbnb availability across the country.

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