ECONOMY

Major gains for Mediterranean destinations

The Greek tourism industry has posted significant profits in 2011, as have a number of the country?s main competitors.

As for the coming year, Yiannis Retsos, president of the Hellenic Hotel Federation, estimates that tourism in Greece will largely depend on the country?s position within the eurozone as well as Europe?s overall financial state, which will be reflected in Europeans? travel plans.

Next year?s results will also be determined by government policy on an institutional level as well as the private sector?s commercial strategy. What?s more, fierce competition from North African countries is expected to make a comeback next year, after losses suffered by popular travel destinations in 2011 – due to political upheaval and social unrest – turned into gains for other countries.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and local tourism organizations, this year Greece will post a record in foreign visitor arrivals, which are seen reaching 16.5 million. In the January-November period, international arrivals at the country?s main airports showed a 8.9 percent increase compared to last year?s figures, reaching 11.4 million, according to data compiled by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE). During the January-September period, industry revenues went up 10.4 percent, reaching 9.3 billion euros, compared to 8.5 billion in the previous year.

In Cyprus, tourist arrivals in the January-November period surpassed 2.3 million travelers, compared to 2.1 million last year, representing a 10.2 increase according to figures released by the country?s statistical service. During the first 10 months of 2011, the country?s tourism revenues are estimated at 1.64 billion euros, compared to 1.45 billion the year before, marking a 13.6 percent increase.

Turkey is breaking one record after another in the field of international arrivals. This year foreign visitors are expected to reach 30 million. During the January-October period, the increase in arrivals came to 10.4 percent, translating into 28.6 million visitors – more than the total number of visitors throughout 2010. Tourism revenues in Turkey rose 18.1 percent during the January-September period compared to the previous year, reaching over $14 billion, according to figures collected by the country’s authorities.

Finally, foreign visitors traveling to Spain during the January-October period reached 50.9 million people, nearly 3.8 million more than the year before, marking an 8 percent increase. Tourism revenues saw an increase of 8.4 percent, reaching 47 billion euros during the January-October period.