ECONOMY

Domestic Easter tourism down but hopes for May Day pickup

Tourism traffic over Easter was smaller this year compared with the same period in 2007, according to Greek travel agents. Yiannis Evangelou, the president of the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (HATTA), told Kathi-merini that over the Holy Week and Easter the tourism market was not as vibrant as it had been last year as far as Greeks were concerned, although some of this loss could be recouped due to the May Day holiday tomorrow. There have been many weeklong packages sold this year as opposed to three- or four-day packages preferred last year, as many people decided to join the Easter Holiday with May Day. The adverse weather conditions have not helped tourism either. Evangelou said the weather put people off taking last-minute holiday packages. For Athens residents, the Ionian islands, particularly Corfu, and the Cyclades were the most popular destinations, while Thessaloniki residents once again opted for Halkidiki and Pelion. However there have been fresh complaints about cases of profiteering at several destinations, mainly in the provisions of non-hotel services. A large number of packages abroad were also sold, with Italy, France, Spain, Malta and Cyprus topping the preferences of Greeks this Easter. The tourism industry is now turning its attention to May traffic, taking into consideration arrivals of foreign tourists to the country. Being a non-peak month, May has not been a good period for Greek tourism in recent years. In contrast, October and November are non-peak months which are gaining ground in the preferences of foreign tourists.