Bookings Show Tourists Coming Back

imagesGeneral Secretary for Tourism Apostolos Liaskos said that after a big downturn in crisis-stricken 2012 that visitor bookings show an increase of 15-20 percent, encouraging news for the country’s most important revenue driver.

Addressing a general meeting of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Liaskos also said the targets of 17 million visitors from abroad and revenues of 11 billion euros ($14.8 billion) this year are attainable, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.

The head of the chamber, Giorgos Tsakiris, presented data which showed hat tourist expenditures declined 5% last year compared to 2011, amounting to 10.02 billion euros ($13.48 billion.) Overnight stays dropped 7%, amounting to 141 million, and arrivals fell 6% to 15.5 million.

Arrivals from abroad showed a major decline in January 2013, mostly concerning the terminals in Athens and Thessaloniki, according to the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) but the rest of the year is looking better so far.

The number of arrivals declined by 28,460, reaching 162,954 down from 191,414 in January 2012. Arrivals at Athens International Airport contracted by 16% year-on-year while those flying in to Thessaloniki shrunk by 13%.