Travel and tourism performs well despite the recession
2013 was a good year for the travel and tourism industry in Greece despite the economic downturn. The number of international visitors increased significantly while domestic trips displayed better results in comparison to previous years. The increase in number of visitors resulted in positive growth for transportation, while it also contributed to reversing the decline in the number of people visiting tourist attractions.
China greatly contributes to growth of travel and tourism
The number of trips to Greece from China saw impressive growth in 2013. Coverage in the Chinese media contributed to this. With a number of Chinese celebrities having chosen Greece as a background setting to promote their new works, the popularity of Greece as a holiday destination among Chinese residents increased significantly. Visitors from China are visiting both the islands for relaxing beach holidays and Athens for historical/cultural tourism.
Greece remains a favourable destination amongst Russian
The number of visitors from Russia saw impressive growth over the review period, with Greece being regarded the third most popular destination for Russians after Turkey and Spain. Arrivals from Russia were high also in 2013, being the second group of visitors after China in terms of growth in number of trips. With Russians mostly attracted to luxury tourism, their contribution to the country’s tourism industry has been great in value terms while they have also generated good revenues for the retail industry in the places they visit, particularly for jewellery and fur stores.
Launch of Ryanair flights to and from Greece greatly contributes to growth
In spring 2013, Ryanair, which entered the Greek market only a few years earlier, made Chania its first base in Greece, introducing a number of flights to and from several European cities. As a result, tourist influx in Chania saw a huge rise in 2013, as did outbound trips from Chania to other destinations, with the Irish low-cost carrier making travelling far more affordable. In April 2014, the company opened two more bases at Athens E Venizelos Airport and Thessaloniki Airport. With eight new routes, including a 36-times-a-week Athens-Thessaloniki service, Ryanair’s April 2014 seat capacity in the country looks like being around 50% higher than in April 2013. This is set to have a huge impact on both Aegean Airlines’ international and domestic flights.
Release of Chinese film ‘Beijing Love Story’ set to further boost arrivals from China
The much-anticipated film ‘Beijing Love Story’, which finished shooting in Santorini in July 2013, was screened in cinemas in China in February 2014. The film is based on a famous television series of the same name and features some of the greatest Chinese stars. Preliminary box office figures indicate sales of 214 million tickets. The impact of the film on the Greek tourism industry is set to be significant, with the number of bookings from China set to display good growth in 2014. Interestingly, several recently married Chinese couples have booked Greece for their honeymoons, while other couples are booking their actual weddings in Greece, primarily on the islands.
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