Tan­gi­ble signs of tourism growth from for­eign mar­kets this year

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Over a mil­lion more pas­sen­gers than last year are ex­pected to fly to Greece from for­eign mar­kets this tourism sea­son, the head of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Hel­lenic Tourism En­ter­prises, Andreas An­dreadis, told a Bank of Greece share­hold­ers’ meet­ing yes­ter­day.

An­dreadis ex­pressed op­ti­mism for the sea­son, with fig­ures show­ing that the Bri­tish mar­ket is re­port­ing a rise of 20 per­cent, and the mar­kets of Ger­many, France and the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries dis­play­ing growth of 15 per­cent. De­vel­op­ing tourism mar­kets such as Rus­sia, Ukraine, Is­rael and Turkey are also show­ing a rise in de­mand, lead­ing to an in­crease of more than 20 per­cent in the num­ber of seats avail­able.

An­dreadis stressed, how­ever, that there are con­cerns about the mar­kets of Italy, Spain and Bul­garia, as the fi­nan­cial trou­bles may not al­low the emer­gence of growth trends to­ward Greece. He did add that there has been in­creased in­ter­est in mar­itime and cruise tourism, though in­com­ing con­fer­ence tourism re­mains some­what lack­lus­ter ow­ing to the im­age of Athens and Thes­sa­loniki as des­ti­na­tions.

Domestic tourism, on the oth-

mar­kets for Greece such as Rus­sia, Ukraine, Is­rael and Turkey are show­ing a rise in de­mand, lead­ing to the in­crease in air seat avail­abil­ity of more than 20 per­cent. er hand, re­mains a ma­jor cause for con­cern, as last year it stood at just 50 per­cent (or 1.5 bil­lion eu­ros) of where it was in 2008, An­dreadis said, with a fur­ther de­cline ex­pected this year – al­beit a rather small one.

An­dreadis added that the tar­gets of 17 mil­lion for­eign tourists and 11 bil­lion eu­ros in rev­enues from tourism are likely to be at­tained or even ex­ceeded. Should a few cru­cial mea­sures be taken, he noted, Greek tourism could in the next two to three years reach up to 20 mil­lion vis­i­tors, adding some 3 per­cent­age points to the coun­try’s gross domestic prod­uct and tens of thou­sands of new jobs.

The de­vel­op­ing tourism

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