ECONOMY

Santorini, the bright spot

Santorini’s natural beauty offsets the negative impact of shortcomings in the provision of tourism services in the context of attracting visitors to the island, a study shows. The study, commissioned by the Cyclades Development Company, was based on a questionnaire which surveyed 4,254 visitors arriving on the island in the period April-October 2006. Six in 10 were Greek, the other nationalities being mainly Italian, British, Spanish, French, American and Australian. The average rating given by Greek visitors to Santorini’s tourism services was 3.81 out of 5, compared to 3.55 among foreigners. This would appear to leave a large margin for improvement, particularly with regard to food and accommodation. In contrast, the island’s natural beauty was given an average score of 4.25 by Greeks and 4.01 by foreigners. The corresponding averages of those who said they would recommend the island to friends and acquaintances were 4.38 and 4.17. The main reasons given for recommending Santorini were the island’s natural beauty, entertainment and beaches. The study results showed that half the visitors were up to the age of 35. More than half were college or university graduates and single. Foreign visitors start planning their visit to Santorini about 45 days ahead on average, relying mainly on the Internet, friends who have visited, tourism guides and travel agents. Greeks, meanwhile, start planning 20 days in advance on average. Three in 10 foreigners buy inclusive packages from travel agents. Half of the Greeks questioned had already visited the island 2.7 times on average, while the others were visiting for the first time. Two in 10 foreign tourists have visited more than once. The average number of overnight stays was 6.5 for Greek tourists, who spent 725 euros each, and 6.1 for foreigners, who each spent 770 euros on average.