Wor­ry­ing signs are emerg­ing for next year’s tourism flow

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

The short-term ben­e­fits for Greek tourism from the cri­sis in Turkey, such as the rise in last-minute book­ings and the trans­fer of con­fer­ences, cor­po­rate events, cruise vis­its etc from Turkey to Greece, should not lead to com­pla­cency, as in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion is a neg­a­tive fac­tor for the fu­ture of Greek tourism, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als.

As­so­ci­a­tion of Hel­lenic Tourism En­ter­prises (SETE) Pres­i­dent An­dreas An­dreadis says that de­spite the spike in last-minute book­ings, there are sev­eral wor­ry­ing signs ahead for next sea­son, such as the fact that some ma­jor air­lines, in their plans for next year, pro­vide for a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of seats avail­able on for­eign flights to Greek destinations.

An­dreadis says that a se­ries of events, such as the re­cent ter­ror at­tacks in Europe, the Bri­tish de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union and in­sta­bil­ity in the broader ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gion, will af­fect tourism traf­fic in 2017. Fur­ther­more, ex­ces­sive tax­a­tion on Greek tourism prod­ucts is cre­at­ing se­ri­ous com­pet­i­tive­ness prob­lems across the en­tire spec­trum of the sec­tor.

The SETE pres­i­dent adds that a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of tourists from key mar­kets such as Ger­many have de­cided against trav­el­ing abroad, shrink­ing the pie for Mediter­ranean destinations this sum­mer.

The coup at­tempt in Turkey, more­over, came at a time when the neigh­bor­ing coun­try was try­ing to make a come­back in tourism with the rap­proche­ment be­tween Ankara and Moscow. The failed coup and the state of emer­gency de­clared in the neigh­bor­ing coun­try may dash any hopes for a re­cov­ery in the Rus­sian flow of vis­i­tors. Greece stands to ben­e­fit from can­ce­la­tions by for­eign tourists to Turkey, the ex­pert says, but this also has a neg­a­tive side.

Greece has seen the num­ber of vis­i­tors from Turkey grow in the past few years but the dra­matic events in the af­ter­math of the failed July 15 coup re­sulted in an im­me­di­ate drop in in­flows, with can­ce­la­tions by Turks who had planned hol­i­days in Greece, mainly in the north, be­gin­ning di­rectly af­ter the event.

Ho­tel as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives be­lieve that the sit­u­a­tion will take time to re­turn to nor­mal, also given in­creased vig­i­lance by Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties over all cit­i­zens trav­el­ing to Greece amid fears that they may have taken part in the coup at­tempt.

The dra­matic events in Turkey since July 15 have re­sulted in an im­me­di­ate de­cline in the flow of Turk­ish vis­i­tors to Greece.

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