Tourism industry outlook very positive for months and year ahead

Tourism professionals are looking forward to a significant increase in arrivals and in revenues over the next few months, while predicting another record year in 2014 if conditions in Greece remain stable.

Tourism traffic is peaking this month, following a significant, double-digit increase in June and July that has dwarfed the gains of rival destinations such as Turkey, Spain and Cyprus. The maintenance of a stable political climate and reduced rates offered late last year by hoteliers to foreign tour operators led to the creation of a favorable climate for Greece this year. Tourism Ministry initiatives such as hosting foreign press representatives and forming joint programs with tour operators have also played their part.

After the temporary gains recorded in June, partly as a result of rioting in Turkey, Greece has recorded a significant increase in bookings for September and October that is attributed to ongoing unrest in neighboring Egypt. The Greek destination, as well as Cyprus and Turkey, appear to be benefiting from the Egyptian crisis, in particular as regards cruise tourism, where operators are substituting Egyptian ports of call with Greek, Cypriot and Turkish ports for the next few months.

Several tourism professionals in Greece are already prepared to express their optimism for 2014 as well. Barring unforeseeable negative developments, Greek tourism is seen as being able to beat this year’s record figure of foreign arrivals of 17 million to reach 18 million. Sources stress that a key factor in hitting this target would be an increase in the number of flights from foreign countries to Greece, with signs already pointing in this direction.

They add that the reduction of value-added tax on food services and the initiatives of promotion firm Marketing Greece can improve the image and the competitiveness of the Greek tourism product next year.