Greek tourism professionals say that the influx of refugees has meant Greece is unable to keep up with the strong growth rate of rival destinations such as Spain and Cyprus this year, with the islands of the northern Aegean suffering most. Professionals in other areas, where migration centers have been created, are also expressing their concern.
Chios Hoteliers Association President Petros Fengoudakis says the decline in bookings for this summer season has come to 90 percent compared with 2015. To bolster demand, hoteliers have resorted to discounts averaging at 20 percent, but there has been no interest so far. Still, for the period to mid-May there are high occupancy rates thanks to bookings by the staff of Frontex and by Greek police.
The head of the Samos hoteliers, Costas Kyriazis, reports that the average drop in summer bookings amounts to 40 percent, but there are hopes for a rebound when charter flights resume in about two weeks’ time.
Bookings for Lesvos are also in negative territory, with the president of the island’s hoteliers, Periklis Antoniou, calling for the immediate implementation of measures promised by the government to boost demand by tourists.