Offers contain drop in tourist arrivals

Arrivals to Greece in the first four months of the year fell just 7.3 percent compared to 2008, one of the better performances in the Mediterranean region, according to data made public yesterday. Data collated by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP), a nonprofit research group, showed that tourist arrivals in competing markets such as Spain and Cyprus fell 12 and 8.6 percent respectively. There was a 26 percent increase in arrivals to Rhodes over the four-month period, while the islands of Santorini and Myconos saw visitor numbers plunge by 70 and 45 percent respectively, said ITEP. On the revenues front, the news for Greece was grim as visitors spent 18.2 percent less in the first quarter compared to the previous year. In Spain and Cyprus the drop reached 15.4 percent and 12.8 percent respectively. The decline in revenues suggests that visitors not only stayed for shorter periods but also spent less money. However, it also reflects the lower rates offered by hotels to attract customers, ITEP said. «The drop [in revenues] for the January to April period will be smaller due to a better performance by the tourism industry in April following the Catholic Easter which fell at the beginning of the month,» ITEP said in a statement.