ECONOMY

Rhodes tourism rosy

Rhodes is set for a considerable rise in tourism arrivals this year, according to provisional data on bookings collected by the island’s Hoteliers’ Association. The favorable estimates for this year follow a good season last year for the island. According to the latest data by the association, last year closed with a 10 percent rise compared with 2005. In its recent meeting, the association discussed the prospects of Rhodes tourism and a series of outstanding issues concerning the hotel sector on the island, such as town-planning problems. There was special reference to the particularly positive figures expected for Rhodes hotels that use the «all-inclusive» systems of bookings. Already in most cases there is an occupancy rate that reaches 100 percent for July and August. There is also already a very satisfactory occupancy rate for other months, which is unusual so early in the year. Bookings from the Austrian and the German markets show a significant increase, while other markets on the rise are those of Italy, Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. Interestingly, a positive trend is seen in non-traditional markets, such as Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. The main rise, though, comes from Great Britain, which is about to post a record number of arrivals on Rhodes. One important factor for that is the start on March 28 of four direct flights per week by GB Airways, a British Airways subsidiary, linking London Gatwick with Rhodes. GB flew only twice per week last year. A special program to attract visitors from Sweden to Rhodes will also start, along with the island’s participation in several international tourism exhibitions and other promotional activities.