Greek tourism is betting on growth in arrivals from the US, Russia and Germany for another record year in visitors and revenues in 2016. The three markets could fetch some 4.5 million tourists between them this year, according to industry expectations.
The US tourism market has risen in significance for Greece in recent years, with tourism professionals estimating a record number of 800,000 American holidaymakers will choose to visit the country this year. There is however some concern as regards cruise sector arrivals, a large share of which is covered by the US market.
Thursday sees the conclusion of the Seatrade Cruise Global fair in Florida, where the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and the Association of Hellenic Ports have been sharing a kiosk. Alternate Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura visited the exhibition and met with representatives of major cruise operators to discuss the prospects of strengthening existing routes and developing new ones in Greece.
The Cruise Lines International Association announced on Wednesday that the total number of Europeans who chose a cruise holiday last year amounted to a record 6.6 million, up 200,000 or 3 percent from 2014. However, the Greek cruise industry suffered a 14 percent year-on-year decline, or 16,000 fewer passengers.
In a speech at the Florida fair, Kyriakos Anastasiadis, a member of the Cruise Lines International Association’s executive board, expressed hope that the Greek market will gradually return to growth once the political and economic conditions stabilize.
The Russian market is expected to rebound this year as far as Greece is concerned. If half of last year’s losses are covered, Russian arrivals will exceed 800,000 within 2016. The picture will become clearer at the MITT international travel and tourism exhibition on March 23-26 in Moscow.
Meanwhile the latest data compiled by TravelTainment on the 10 most popular flight destinations in the world for German travelers showed that Iraklio Airport on Crete posted a 50 percent increase from last year in February, while Rhodes Airport saw 37 percent growth. Local tourism officials expect the number of German visitors to top 3 million this year.
GNTO general secretary Dimitris Tryfonopoulos says that during the recent ITB exhibition in Berlin he was assured by the head of the German Travel Association (DRV), Norbert Fiebig, that Greece will be among the most popular destinations for German travelers in 2016.