Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura on Friday concluded her visit to Madrid and the International Tourism Fair FITUR, holding successive meetings with Spanish travel industry officials in order to further boost the tourist flow to Greece. Within the framework of her contacts, Kountoura noted the steadily upward trend from the Spanish market and the positive messages for 2018.
The Greek minister had a meeting with the Tourism Minister of Lebanon, Avedis Guidanian, who also stressed the significant increase of tourist flows to Greece in 2017 and the positive momentum in 2018. They discussed the possibilities of strengthening bilateral tourism cooperation and joint initiatives in the context of the Phoenicians’ Route cultural tourism programme in the Mediterranean, organised in collaboration with the Council of Europe and the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO. T
he Lebanese Tourism Minister asked for Kountoura’s support and cooperation to undertake and promote joint actions in view of the upcoming presentation of the pilot project in Beirut.
GNTO General Secretary Constantinos Tsegas visited the Greek pavilion at the Utrecht international tourist exhibition ‘Vakantiebeurs 2018’and carried out a series of important meetings for the promotion of Greek tourism. ‘Vakantiebeurs 2018’ ended with very optimistic forecasts for the rise of bookings from the Netherlands to Greece and a prize for Greek cuisine.
“The rise in bookings is the result of Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura’s strategic planning for Greece’s international promotion as the ideal destination for holidays all year round, as well as the targeted actions for the international promotion of thematic forms of tourism organised and implemented by the GNTO,” said Tsegas.
According to initial estimates, based on meetings held during the exhibition, bookings to Greece are up 30 pct in relation to the previous year.
The exhibition ended with an award to Greece as the destination with the best restaurants. The prize was bestowed to GNTO by the tourist platform Reisgraag.nl.
ASTA DESTINATION EXPO 2018’
Athens will host the “ASTA Destination EXPO 2018”, the international conference of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
The exhibition, to be held in April, is expected to contribute greatly to the promotion of Greek tourism, as it will give tourism organizations and travel agencies the opportunity to visit Greece and promote it as a destination in the coming years. More than 80 percent of all travel agency sales are made through ASTA members.
More than 240 companies have submitted applications to participate in the exhibition so far.
FEDHATA’s, the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies, aim is to increase the arrival of US tourists in Greece by 30 pct. In that framework, it will also organise special tours in order to promote other Greek destinations, such as the islands of Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini, and the city of Thessaloniki.
RECORD OF VISITORS
Tourists visiting Greece in January-September 2017 totalled 26 million (25,914,000), the Bank of Greece said in a report for the nine months of the year released on Wednesday, showing an 8% rise over the same period in 2016.
Specifically, visitors from Germany increased by 15.0% to 2,915 thousand, as did visitors from France, by 8.8% to 1,290 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also increased, by 6.9% to 2,625 thousand. In terms of non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia rose by 1.1% to 531 thousand, as did the number of visitors from the United States, by 11.6% to 715 thousand.
Travel receipts in January-September 2017 totalled 13,021 million euros, up 10.5% relative to the same period of 2016. This development was driven by a 7.9% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, and by a 19.5% rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to 3,832 million euros.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 11.4% year-on-year to 5,582 million euros, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also rose, by 2.4% to 3,254 million euros.
As shown by the Border Survey, travel receipts in the Jan.-Sept. 2017 period amounted to 12,667 million euros. Five regions accounted for the bulk (88.9%) of total receipts: the Southern Aegean (3,287 million euros), Crete (2,922 million), the Ionian Islands (1,706 million), Central Macedonia (1,677 million) and Attica (1,666 million). The remaining regions – Thessaly, the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, the Northern Aegean, Western Greece, Central Greece and Western Macedonia – together accounted for 1,409 million euros.
The period under review saw 2,685 cruise ship arrivals (compared to 3,400 for the same time in 2016) and 3,761 thousand cruise passenger visits (4,181 thousand, Jan.-Sept. 2016). According to the Bank of Greece’s annual cruise-specific survey, 90.3% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.5 stopovers at Greek ports of call, unchanged from January-September 2016.
Meanwhile passenger traffic in Greek airports hit an all-time record in 2017, reaching 58 million passengers, which represents an increase of 9.5 percent compared to 2016, data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) showed on Tuesday.
CAA said a total of 482,410 flights were recorded in Greek airports last year, of which 192,212 were international and 290,198 were domestic, presenting a rise of 2.7 percent compared to 2016, when 469,553 flights were registered.
The airport with the highest increase in passenger traffic for the twelve months of 2017 in the category of airports handling more than 4 million passengers annually was Heraklion, which posted a 10.8 percent jump in traffic and 7.5 million passengers.
In the middle category of airports with traffic of 1-4 million passengers, Kos airport came first, registering a 20.1 percent increase and 2,285,080 million passengers for 2017, while in the category of airports handling up to one million passengers annually, the biggest rise was posted in Paros, with a stunning 119.9 percent jump and 163,368 passengers.
A French-made documentary featuring the Cycladic island of Paros, centred on the island’s cathedral Ekatontapyliani, was this year enlisted to help promote the island as a tourism destination, as part of a series of actions forming the island’s international promotional campaign.
The documentary was filmed by Roche Productions as part of the series “Treasures of Europe” that was recently shown on Fox TV, as well as on the French TV stations Voyages, TV5 Monde and National Geographic.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Paros will inaugurate its 2018 campaign this January throught its participation in the tourist exhibitions in Vienna (FERIEN MESSE) and Dusseldorf (BOOT 2018) while the distribution of tourist material in the context of business meetings in the exhibiton “NEW YORK TIMES TRAVEL SHOW” has been programmed.
The Austrian, US and German markets express strong interest in the Cyclades islands, particularly for those that offer a rich and varied tourism product.