Greek tourism is gaining favor, notably in the USA

Tourist arrivals from the USA to Greece are expected to rise further this year, boosted by the addition of flights to and from Athens by two major American carriers, Continental and US Airways, an Athens International Airport (AIA) official told a conference in the capital, echoing the views of the government. Giorgos Karamanos, AIA’s marketing executive, added that last year the new flights by Delta resulted in a 400 percent rise in the number of American tourists who chose Greece for their holidays. He was addressing the third International Meeting Industry Conference (IMIC), held in Athens last week and titled «Marketing Destinations.» The event also heard Giorgos Drakopoulos, general manager of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises, refer to the problem of seasonal tourism in Greece and the difficulty in creating infrastructures for tourism throughout the year. He did note, however, that Greece ranks 11th in the world in revenues and 16th in arrivals. On the issue of golf, he said this form of tourism could be a significant boost, once institutional problems are overcome. Deborah Luhrman, a crisis management expert representing the World Tourism Organization, presented the WTO data which illustrated the rising course of Greek tourism in 2006. Nevertheless, according to Alexandros Kouris of the PRC Group, Greece should not rest on its laurels as the local tourism product relying on the sea-and-sun model has new strong competitors, such as Croatia and Turkey. Kouris also referred to Greece’s limited Internet presence, when a recent survey at AIA showed the Internet to be the second most important advertising outlet for any country’s tourism with 14.1 percent of responders choosing their holiday destination via the Net. Advertising spots, billboards and print adverts are last on the list with just 1 percent. The list is topped by friends’ recommendations (42 percent).