Regions cash in on Carnival

Tens of communities around Greece have benefited financially from a growing interest in their peculiar Carnival traditions, which has boosted domestic tourism in recent years, local politicians told Kathimerini yesterday. «From zero tourism, we are now in a position where the possibilities are endless,» said Paris Koukoulopoulos, the mayor of Kozani in northern Greece. The city’s Carnival festivities are expected to attract some 100,000 people from other parts of the country. This will bring in several million euros for the local economy. The Carnival season begins 10 weeks before Easter and culminates on the weekend before Clean Monday. Authorities in nearby Grevena expect more than 20,000 tourists to have passed through the area by the end of this weekend. «We cannot make an exact evaluation but it is worth noting that over this three-day weekend, the number of visitors in the city will outnumber the local population (15,000),» Grevena Mayor Giorgos Noutsos told Kathimerini. Xanthi in northeastern Greece and Naoussa in northern Greece are among other areas that are seeking to cash in on people coming to see Carnival parades and other traditional shows. Authorities there estimate that 100,000 and 40,000 visitors respectively will attend the festivities. Patras will hold the biggest Carnival parade in the country. It costs around -800,000 but more than 100,000 people are expected to spend the weekend in the city and give local businesses a significant boost. Hotel rooms in the area cost between -60 and -100 per night during this weekend and hotels are usually 90 percent full for the culmination of the Carnival season.