BUSINESS

Tourists in Athens want Sunday shopping

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Economy, Tourism

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 Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hoteliers Association. Visitors also say they are pleasantly surprised by Athens.

July 17 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 first-timers (124 euros against 93 euros). They said they returned because they 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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