ECONOMY

TUI planning to build hotels on Crete, Rhodes

TUI Travel Plc, one of the biggest tour operators in the world, informed the Greek government on Thursday that it is not only planning to bring 2 million visitors to the country next year, but it will also start building two hotel units on Rhodes and Crete.

TUI head Peter Long explained the group’s investment plans for Greece to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at a meeting in Athens. As Long stated after the meeting, “TUI Travel spends half a billion euros every year on the service market in Greece’s tourism market. We will open new hotels on Rhodes and Crete and continue to support the local economy of Greek destinations.” TUI also expressed an interest in the privatization of selected regional airports.

On tourism traffic, Long said that Greece is experiencing an impressive rebound in 2013 which is set to continue next year, announcing that TUI will increase the number of customers it brings to Greece by 10 percent, reaching up to 2 million.

Sources also said that Long asked the prime minister to suspend regional airport taxes at certain destinations during the off-peak months as an incentive that should help to extend the tourism season. That is an issue which Long had also discussed during his previous visit to Greece a month ago, when he met with the vice governor of the Southern Aegean Regional Authority, Eleftheria Ftaklaki. A task committee was set up to examine how this could apply in practice, starting with destinations such as Rhodes and Crete from next winter (2014-15).

Long also spoke about TUI and the Greek government cooperating on a joint advertising campaign for Greece as a holiday destination, an idea to which Athens reportedly responded positively.

In a separate development, Marketing Greece SA, a joint venture made up of travel agents, hoteliers and advertisers aimed at supporting the state’s effort to sell Greece to foreigners, yesterday published qualitative and quantitative details on the favorable publicity about Greece that was instigated by the activities of public relations and electronic communication consultants in the major tourism markets of the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia.

Over a period of just 30 days, there were 287 reports about and references to Greece in the mass media of those countries, whose value is estimated by Marketing Greece to amount to 2 million euros. This was achieved with the expenditure of just 18,000 euros, Marketing Greece announced.