Tourists Avoid Athens, Prefer Greek Island Cruising

    Tourist agents appear optimistic as the data regarding the tourist reservations for the first six months of the year are showing better than expected results, with 6,336,370 visitors recorded. Greek airlines released a report showing that losses compared to the same time period last year were only 3.77%, while a much larger decline was expected.

    Strife-ridden Athens has been strongly hit, however, with 240,000 fewer tourists compared to last year’s same months. The Halkidiki peninsula and Ionian islands such as Corfu and Kefalonia, on the contrary, showed strong results in attracting tourists.

    The Northern city of Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest, is also doing better than expected during an economic crisis. On Aug. 9, the  Aida cruise ship arrived in port along with 1,413 tourists, most of whom were Germans, a country which has been feuding with Greece over austerity demands being pushed by international lenders and supported by Berlin.  A number of excursions has been planned to Halkidiki, Dion and Vergina, while other tourists will explore the city with bike tours. The cruise ship will also stop by at Samos island and is expected to return to Thessaloniki next year. The Aida will spend five nights on Thessaloniki port during 2013!