Greek tourism should aim to woo more high-in­come vis­i­tors

Kathimerini English - - Focus - ILIAS BELLOS

Greece still has sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial for at­tract­ing more high-in­come tourists who bring the big­gest added value to the Greek econ­omy, the In­sti­tute of the Greek Tourism Con­fed­er­a­tion (INSETE) ar­gues in its the lat­est re­port.

A study of the pro­file of for­eign vis­i­tors in Greece showed that four in 10 be­long in the medium- or low­in­come brack­ets and most stay at ho­tels with four or fewer stars. This is with­out in­clud­ing the vis­i­tors from neigh­bor­ing Al­ba­nia and the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia (FYROM), which con­sti­tute ma­jor mar­kets for in­com­ing tourism that in its ma­jor­ity con­cerns medium-in­come vis­i­tors.

By far the tourists of the high­est in­come and ed­u­ca­tion brack­ets who visit Greece come from the United States, but they only ac­count for 5 per­cent of all vis­i­tors.

The task of record­ing and pre­sent­ing de­tailed statis­tics on the pro­file of in­com­ing tourists was con­ducted by IPK In­ter­na­tional based on fig­ures for 2016 and 2017, with a ques­tion­naire in 60 coun­tries, not in­clud­ing Cyprus, Al­ba­nia and FYROM.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tute’s find­ings num­ber of tourists who vis­ited and spent at least one night in Greece came to 20.9 mil­lion in 2016. There was a rise in 2017 of 9.8 per­cent to al­most 23 mil­lion. The re­main­ing vis­i­tors up to the 30 mil­lion to­tal es­ti­mated by the Bank of Greece for 2017 con­cerned vis­i­tors from Turkey or other coun­tries that were not fac­tored in – such as Al­ba­nia, FYROM and Cyprus – who were here for one day or on busi­ness.

Women ac­counted for 51.6 per­cent of vis­i­tors, while more than two thirds of tourists came to Greece with their part­ner (69.3 per­cent), on va­ca­tion (88.8 per­cent), at­tracted by the sea and the sun (68.4 per­cent).

Most had a higher in­come (58.9 per­cent) and ed­u­ca­tion level (62.2 per­cent), and were in the 25-54 age bracket (64.6 per­cent). Their fa­vorite ho­tel cat­e­gory was four stars, ac­count­ing for 29.7 per­cent of stays. Al­most ev­ery one of them (93.2 pct) had booked their hol­i­days in ad­vance, with the most pop­u­lar sources for in­for­ma­tion and book­ings be­ing the in­ter­net and travel agents.

US tourists in par­tic­u­lar posted a 12 per­cent in­crease in 2017 from 2016 to reach up to about 921,000 and ac­counted for one in three nonEuro­pean vis­i­tors. In their ma­jor­ity they had a higher in­come (67.4 pct) and ed­u­ca­tion level (80 pct), and more than one in three (35.4 pct) chose five-star ho­tels.

US tourists posted a 12 per­cent in­crease in 2017 from 2016 to reach around 921,000 and ac­counted for one in three non-Euro­pean vis­i­tors. In their ma­jor­ity (80 per­cent) they had a higher ed­u­ca­tion level.

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