BUSINESS

Athens tourism fuels hotel occupancy

Capital’s airport reports 19.5 pct rise in passenger traffic in September By Alexandra Kassimi and Stathis Kousounis

The 390,000 additional hotel stays chalked up in Athens in the first eight months of the year compared to 2013 can be put down to the jump in tourism arrivals in the Greek capital and translates into revenues of 142.8 million euros for the real economy, primarily via the sectors of hotels, commerce, catering and others.

These figures were presented on Tuesday by the president of the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association, Alexandros Vassilikos, at a joint press conference with Marketing Greece, Aegean Airlines and Athens International Airport on the course of the Greek capital as an international travel destination.

The association’s data showed that the occupancy rates at Attica hotels grew by 22.3 percentage points in the year to end-August from the same period of 2013 to reach 72.1 percent, while the average rate for a double room climbed 4.95 euros to 85.70 euros and average revenues per available room increased 28.3 percent to reach 61.80 euros.

Vassilikos noted that the increase in both demand and occupancy reveals the momentum of the destination, which is also confirmed by association surveys regarding the satisfaction rate for Athens visitors: Virtually all (96 percent) would recommend the Greek capital to others for vacations, while their overall assessment of the destination gave Athens 7.8 marks out of 10. Still, the local hoteliers chief made it clear that despite the rate rises observed across the capital’s hotel spectrum this year, rates and revenues are still lagging the peak of the pre-crisis period (2007-08).

Athens International Airport announced a 19.5 percent increase in passenger traffic in September compared with the same month in 2013, after an 18.9 percent rise in the first eight months of the year.

Aegean Airlines Vice President Eftichios Vassilakis said that his company expects to carry a total of 7.74 million passengers to Athens in 2014. This year the airline’s network has included flown to 72 destinations from Athens, of which 43 were international. The carrier’s aim for 2018 is to serve 100 destinations from the Greek capital, of which 70 will be outside of Greece.

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