Tourists want Sunday shop­ping

Ma­jor­ity of vis­i­tors to Athens ac­knowl­edge their time spent in the cap­i­tal turned out bet­ter than ex­pected

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Seven out of ev­ery 10 tourists who visit Athens con­sider it im­por­tant that stores be open on Sun­days while also say­ing that the eco­nomic cri­sis has not af­fected their trip at all, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by the Athen­sAt­tica and Ar­gosa­ronic Hote­liers As­so­ci­a­tion. Vis­i­tors also say they are pleas­antly sur­prised by Athens.

To­mor­row will be one of the few Sun­days in the year when stores will be open, but tourists said they felt this should hap­pen more than just seven times per year, as is the case now.

The an­nual sur­vey on the sat­is­fac­tion of vis­i­tors to the cap­i­tal and the per­for­mance of lo­cal ho­tels found that 94 per­cent of tourists did not run into any prob­lems re­lated to the cap­i­tal con­trols. Sixty-two per­cent said they had a bet­ter or much bet­ter than ex­pected ex­pe­ri­ence in Athens, and 95 per­cent re­sponded they would un­re­servedly rec­om­mend the Greek cap­i­tal as a des­ti­na­tion.

Find­ings also showed the av­er­age ex­pen­di­ture of each visi­tor out­side ho­tels amounted to 106.70 eu­ros per day. Bro­ken down, this came to 19.80 eu­ros on sight­see­ing and en­ter­tain­ment, 34.40 eu­ros at restau­rants, cafes and bars, 28.50 eu­ros on pur­chases and 24.10 eu­ros on trans­port, among other things.

The num­ber one rea­son that tourists visit Athens, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, is mat­ters of cul­tural in­ter­est and the Greek cap­i­tal’s ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites, as cited by 76 per­cent of re­spon­dents. This was fol­lowed by gas­tron­omy and en­ter­tain­ment, stop­ping in the city en route to an­other des­ti­na­tion, shop­ping, and be­cause they en­joy ev­ery­day life in Athens.

Cru­cially, sec­ond-time vis­i­tors spent more money per day than first­timers (124 eu­ros against 93 eu­ros). They said they re­turned be­cause they 557.36 1.1128 wanted to visit more sites other than the Acrop­o­lis and its mu­seum, with many vis­it­ing a Sa­ronic is­land such as Aegina, Poros, Hy­dra or Spet­ses.

An­other im­por­tant find­ing was that di­rect flights from the US to Athens In­ter­na­tional Air­port posted a 38 per­cent in­crease last year over 2014, mak­ing the US mar­ket one of the top 15 mar­kets for Athens tourism. North Amer­i­cans have the high­est de­gree of sat­is­fac­tion among Athens vis­i­tors.

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