Athens.- International arrivals increased 17.1 percent or by 760,000 in the first six months of the year, boding well for the achievement of the Greek Tourism Enterprises Association (SETE) target for 19 million international arrivals in 2014. The target includes road and sea arrivals, but not cruise arrivals, which are estimated to increase by 2.2 million.
According to data released by SETE, Athens continues its excellent performance with an increase of 32.8 percent or about 400,000 additional arrivals in the first six months. The target of 750,000 additional arrivals in the capital is expected to be overcome. In the meantime, a large increase of over 20 percent has been recorded at the airports of Chania (24.1 percent), Santorini (26 percent), Kalamata (58.5 percent) and Samos (22.1 percent).
On the other hand, sea cruise passengers fell by 3.7 pct to 4.6 million in 2013, a survey by Infobank Hellastat said on Tuesday. The survey showed that sea cruise revenues fell by 2.3 pct to 574 million euros in 2013, from 588 million euros in 2012 and 605 million in 2011, ranking Greece seventh in Europe.
Infobank Hellastat estimates that sea cruise arrivals will be lower this year, compared with 2013, reflecting political and social instability in Eastern Meditarranean and fleet restructuring by international sea cruise groups. The survey said that large sea cruise vessels, currently under operation, were unable to reach most Greek ports, while destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos were congested.
Greece ranked third, behind Italy and Spain in 2013, although its share in the European market fell to 14.8 pct, from 17 pct two years before. Greece lagged behind in home port services. Passengers from Greek ports totaled 212,000 (seventh in Europe).
Passengers’ traffic of Greek airlines Aegean and Olympic Air recorded a 21 pct increase during June 2014, with total passengers exceeding one million people.
According to an Aegean press release, June’s considerable increase in passengers traffic reinforced the 2014 first half’s trend for the whole network, which also recorded a 16 pct increase, adding 600,000 more passengers which rose to a total of 4.3 million. Aegean said that domestic passenger trafic increased by 19 pct both for June and the first half of 2014. As regards international passengers traffic, the company recorded a 23 pct increase from all its Greek bases.
CITY OF ATHENS
Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on Tuesday met with the Athens mayor George Kaminis, at the Tourism ministry. Kefalogianni and Kaminis welcomed the significant increase in tourist arrivals in Athens this summer and agreed on an even closer cooperation so that Athens becomes an independent tourist destination.
The two officials discussed ways of cooperation between the Tourism ministry and the Municpality of Athens ahead of the TBEX 2014, organized by the municipality next October in Athens.
TBEX is the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators, and social media savvy travel industry professionals.
Folegandros is the Greek destination with the biggest decline in hotel rates this month compared with a year earlier according to data processed by the Trivago travel website.
Online hotel prices on the small Cycladic island have dropped 27 percent from July 2013 to reach an average rate of 97 euros per double room for a night’s stay.
Rates have also fallen at Koukounaries on Skiathos (24 percent) and on Spetses (23 percent).
The biggest increase was noted on Myconos, where rates have soared by 61 percent to reach an average of 322 euros per double room per night. Lefkada has also seen a 38 percent rise.
TWO NEW HOTELS
Grace Hotels is expanding its presence in Greece and announced it would open two new hotels in the island of Tzia and in Kalamata, adding to its two existing hotels in Santorini and Mykonos.
The investment in Tzia will include more than 30 luxury rooms, accompanied by autonomous villas. In Kalamata, the plan envisages more than 120 room and 40 villas. The Kalamata project will have a budget of around 80 million euros.
Grace Hotels began its activities in Greece in 2007 and at the same time it established activities in China, US and Argentina. The company will begin activities in Morocco, Switzerland and in the US (Main).
Greece can become the Riviera of Europe and seaplanes can improve the image of the Greek tourism product, Hellenic Seaplanes’ vice-president and general manager Michael Asariotis said to ANA-MPA.
Today, more than ever, the circumstances are favourable for the first seaplanes to arrive in Greece, the first country in Europe.
According to Asariotis, the company has already started preparing the reservation system for seaplanes and the first bookings will start in October.
The first flights will start in May 2015, although the company’s initial aim was for this year. He added that the state has supported the company’s efforts and any problems that have occurred were bureaucratic and not due to lack of interest.
NAVAGIO NOT FOR SALE
A lawyer and an engineer who said they represented the owner of a plot of land bordering the iconic Greek beach of “Navagio” (Shipwreck) on the western island of Zakynthos, told the ANA-MPA on Friday that they had notified regional Metropolitan Chrysostomos by letter that the sale did not include any land belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church, or the beach. The sold land, 1500 hectares (or 15,000 stremmas), former property of George Haros, did not include land of the St. George of Cliffs (Agios Georgios ton Krimnon) Monastery or the area of the Navagio beach, in northwest Zakynthos, which has been widely featured on Greek post cards and holiday destinations for its white beach and a rusting ship half-buried in the sand.
They stressed that the sale was based on the criterion of the buyers’ credibility and the great opportunity for investments on the island of Zakynthos, which is part of the Ionian Islands.
Reports of the sale had prompted the reaction of the church in terms of property rights. Dodoni metropolitan Chrysostomos, to whom ANA-MPA communicated the information, said, “I do not have a full picture of the letter. I shall be very pleased if things are as they are being described”.