BUSINESS

Greece is trailing in high-income tourists

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism

While Greece is one of the four top Mediterranean destinations for travelers – coming after Spain and Italy, and tying with Turkey by attracting about 15 percent of tourists in the region – it is a laggard in luxury tourism, a survey by the Greek tourism businesses association SETE showed.

A shortage of infrastructure and the right product, as well as weaknesses in promotion, are the main problems identified in the survey on the basis of data from world travel monitor IPK International.

High-income travelers – visitors who spend more than 750 euros per person per night for three nights or more than 500 euros per person per night for more than four nights – account for just 8 percent of total arrivals in Greece. However, the high added value generated by these visitors could help the country bridge the revenue gap from an increasing number of visitors spending less during their holidays.

According to SETE, luxury travelers to Greece in 2016 came to 402,000, or 1.4 percent of total arrivals, including from cruises, which accounted for 2.2 million overnight stays, or 1.1 percent of the total. Despite the small numbers, these tourists covered 13.7 percent of total holiday spending in Greece, which translates to roughly 1.8 billion euros. This represents just 9 percent of the total spending of luxury travelers in the Mediterranean, with the lion’s share going to Spain and Italy.

The number of tourists from around the world choosing luxury holidays in the Mediterranean in 2016 reached 4.4 million, accounting for 23.8 million overnight stays and spending of almost 20 billion euros.

The average cost per trip per day amounted to 4,498 euros and 833 euros respectively. These tourists tend to be couples aged between 35 and 44, who are comfortably off. Their length of stay is usually from four to seven nights, and they choose to travel to Italy (35.6 pct) and Spain (31.0 pct).

According to the SETE survey, Greece was the third most popular destination for European travelers in 2016 and the fourth for non-European visitors, securing 8.3 percent and 7.9 percent of the market share, respectively.

The main European markets from which Greece attracted luxury travelers in 2016 were Germany (39,000 or 22 pct of European travel, 22 pct of overnight stays and 21 pct of the spending), France (37,000, or 21 pct of European travel, 17 pct of overnight stays and 18 pct of the spending) and the United Kingdom (26,000, 15 pct of European travel, 15 pct of overnight stays and 16 pct of the spending).

The main markets for luxury travelers for Greece outside of Europe were the United States (88,000, 39 pct of European travel, 40 pct of overnight stays and 40 pct of spending), China (54,000, 24 pct of non-European travel, 23 pct of overnight stays and 25 pct of spending) and Japan (8 pct of non-European travel, 7 pct of overnight stays and 7 pct of the spending).

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