ITB Berlin 2016 – Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Andreas Andreadis.
The Greek Tourism Confederation expects the number of visitors to rise to a record 25 million this year and bring 800 million euros ($897 million) of extra income,
Andreas Andreadis, president of Greek Tourism Confederation said in an interview in Athens on Tuesday March 29.
Andreadis said he expects as many as 900,000 Russians to arrive in Greece and they will account for about half the increase in revenue
Summer bookings: Turkey’s to fall, Greece’s to rise, hopefully
The Greek tourism sector is rubbing its hands in expectation of the tourists who have dropped neighboring Turkey from their holiday agenda and instead opted for Greek shores,the greektravelpages wrote.
Turkey’s bookings falling sharply
Due to the rising political tensions between Turkey and Russia, terror attacks on German tourists, terrorism in nearby countries and problems with refugees and Kurds, Turkey has many problems that will directly affect tourism and medical tourism in 2016 and 2017.
Tourists are avoiding Turkey en masse, write gtp, with Germans recording a 14.39 percent drop, US tourists decreasing by 9.53 percent, Japan travelers by a massive 58.96 percent and Russian holidaymakers, which was until recently Turkey’s main market, by 51.56 percent. The number of Greek visitors also fell in February by 20.82 percent at 34,176.
In recent years, the number of tourists to Turkey went up by several million each year, until 2015.
Medical tourism numbers also grew spectacularly, although some of the official figures are not entirely trustworthy. From a peak of 42 million in 2014, tourism numbers have fallen, with 2015 figures looking to be around 36 million.
The trend on medical tourism is expected to show an even bigger fall as the numbers of Russians, Germans and Italians going to Turkey have fallen significantly.
Russian outbound numbers on tourism and medical tourism have fallen and will fall further in 2016 due to political instability, EU sanctions, falling oil prices and the value of the Rouble falling against foreign currencies.
On the same day the Greek President of Hoteliers in Greece, Andreadis, announced the expected rise in Greece’s tourism activity , separately, on March 28, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry reported a 10 percent drop in year-on-year arrivals last month, the most in a decade.
Tourism and medical tourism have been heavily dependent on Russians and Germans. According to Turkish authorities, 5.5 million Germans visited the country in 2015 and there were, until late 2015, millions of Russians.
Turkey is concerned about the loss of Russian business, but increasing business from European countries had been offsetting this. Turkey is popular with German, French, Italian and Spanish tourists. The country used to be one of Germany’s most popular travel destinations, but after this year’s assault on a German tour group in Istanbul and two other attacks deliberately aimed at tourists, bookings have fallen sharply.
Tourism , unique Greece’s growing sector
While Andreadis made no comment on Turkey or its tourism industry, the expected influx of higher-spending Russian tourists couldn’t come at a better time for Greece as its economy struggles to grow and its finances still hang in the balance.
Tourism has been one of the few industries that kept growing during the crisis, with rising to a record 23.6 million people last year.
In 2015, international tourist arrivals to Greece grew by 7% to reach 23.6 million, while exports generated by the sector increased by 6% to euro 14.2 billion.
Its total contribution to the country’s gross domestic product was 18.5 percent, almost twice the European average, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Andreadis said the increase will boost GDP by an extra percentage point this year, with revenue rising to 15 billion euros from 14.2 billion euros in 2015.
In 2015, the number of visitors from Germany specifically rose by 14.3 percent compared to 2014, to reach 2.8 million, while the overall rise in German visitors to Greece since 2010 has been 38 percent. Last year, German visitors contributed 2.26 billion euros to the Greek economy, according to the Bank of Greece
UNWTO projects a positive 2016 for tourism in Greece
ITB Berlin 2016 – Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); Elena Koundoura, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Greece; Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, Secretary General, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO); Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State-Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, also, expressed, on March 17, the confidence of the Organization in the continued growth of the tourism sector in Greece.
Meeting Minister of Tourism of Greece Elena Kountoura at the side-lines of ITB to discuss the situation and prospects of tourism in Europe and Greece, Mr Rifai said
“we have no doubt that Greece will maintain a powerful image worldwide as a major tourism destination and that the country will consolidate its growth in 2016, as shown by booking trends”.
sources: gtp pages, International Medical Travel Journal, Bloomberg, Hospitalitynet