ECONOMY

Greeks spend more on their vacations

Holidays and travel remain significant priorities for Greeks, the majority (52.7 percent) of whom spend more than 900 euros per year for their holidays, while 44.2 percent spend up to that amount, a survey by Kappa Research has found. The sixth publication of the annual survey about the holiday habits of Greeks was presented on Thursday at the «Tourism Panorama» Exhibition. It has recorded that more than one in six Greeks (17.7 percent) spend 1,500 euros or more on their holidays. One in two people (51.2 percent) plan to have virtually the same vacation as last year (up from 49.4 percent in 2005), while 31 percent will trim down their vacations (from 33.9 percent in last year’s survey). Seven of eight Greeks (87 percent) made at least one recreational trip in Greece (58.7 percent) or abroad (6.8 percent) or both (21.5 percent). This trend has shown a rise in the last couple of years. Also rising is the figure of Greeks traveling abroad in general, reaching 45.3 percent. The average duration of people’s summer vacations is two weeks (24 percent), with 16.3 percent answering that they holiday for 10 days only. In total, 71.3 percent have vacations that last up to a month, with 27.5 percent holidaying for more than 30 days. In the question about the three main priorities for the development of tourism in Greece, the most popular answers were an upgrade in the quality of tourism services offered, the cleanliness of destinations and the improvement of behavior toward tourists. A considerable 44.7 percent believe that foreign tourists are better taken care of than Greeks. August remains the most popular month for holidays, preferred by 60 percent of respondents, followed by July with 25 percent. Their own holiday homes are the chosen accommodation for 33 percent of Greeks, with hotels being the second choice (27 percent). The Internet has emerged as the second most popular source of information in choosing accommodation, after recommendations by relatives and friends. The main criteria in choosing accommodations are cleanliness, location and price. The 11th Tourism Panorama international exhibition was officially opened on Thursday by Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia at Expo Athens in Anthoussa, northeast of the capital, and will last until tomorrow. Potential The minister highlighted the government’s efforts to expand domestic tourism and argued that «to date Greece has only utilized 15 percent of its development potential in tourism, so the challenge of leading Greek tourism to the top spots in the global list is realistic.» Greek tourism can create up to 150,000 new jobs by 2010, therefore absorbing about one-third of existing unemployment, said Deputy Minister for Development Anastassios Nerantzis. He added that tourism represents about 15 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product and employs 16.5 percent of the active workforce. The Development Ministry has approved at least 5,245 business plans for funding through the «Competitiveness» subsidy program, to a total budget of about 590 million euros.