Tourism sec­tor’s grow­ing split

Gap be­tween sec­tor’s profit- and loss-mak­ing com­pa­nies is set to ex­pand in 2017 de­spite book­ings in­crease

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS & NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

Greece will be a two-tier tourism mar­ket this year, and the per­for­mance gaps be­tween dif­fer­ent sec­tors, en­ter­prises and des­ti­na­tions look set to broaden.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent of the Greek Tourism Con­fed­er­a­tion (SETE), An­dreas An­dreadis, book­ings for 2017 are in pos­i­tive terri- tory. How­ever, the desta­bi­liza­tion of Turkey is gen­er­at­ing con­cern as this will hurt Greek tourism in the long term.

The de­ter­min­ing fac­tor for tourism in the Mediter­ranean this year will be se­cu­rity lev­els at des­ti­na­tions that court the same mar­kets as Greece. Al­ready a large sec­tion of the tourism mar­ket that Turkey is los­ing due to suc­ces­sive ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Greece’s east­ern neigh­bor is head­ing to other des­ti­na­tions.

The limited op­tions in the stock of ho­tel beds at safe des­ti­na­tions for the up­com­ing sea­son is spread­ing the in­ter­est of for­eign tour op­er­a­tors across Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Por­tu­gal and even Croa­tia and Bul­garia. In this broader geopo­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment of in­se­cu­rity, Greece is en­joy­ing gains in for­eign mar­kets through book­ings for package hol­i­days be­fore it has even launched its pro­mo­tional cam­paign.

How­ever, pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions and tourism en­ter­prises will keep grow­ing, while the smaller ones will be weak­ened by over­tax­a­tion.

A 19 per­cent yearly in­crease (or 3.6 mil­lion) in the num­ber of air seats sched­uled by air­lines for Greece’s re­gional air­ports so far in 2017 has also been noted in the pro­vi­sional sched­ule (which will be re­vised by the end of Jan­uary).

On the other hand, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of cruise tourism com­pa­nies es­ti­mate that the 30 per­cent de­cline in 1.0437 cruise pas­sen­gers to Greece is ir­re­versible, re­duc­ing their num­ber by about 1 mil­lion. This is mainly due to the shift of cruise routes away from the Aegean – a re­sult of the un­rest in Turkey – and to­ward East Asia and Aus­tralia.

The SETE head adds that im­proved man­age­ment of the refugee issue and the smooth com­ple­tion of the sec­ond bailout re­view would go a long way to­ward en­sur­ing that Greek tourism has a good year in 2017.

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