Greece is undoubtedly one of the worlds’ top tourism destinations, being ranked consistently in the top 15 tourist destinations with over 15 million tourists visiting each year, this figure reached 17.5 million in 2008.
But 2009 was not an easy year for Greek tourism and present signs indicate that it could be another tough year , with early summer bookings currently down between 5-10% and concern over the social stability of the country.
Tourism is a key sector in the Greek economy and accounts for around 20% of GDP and as such has a major effect on the overall state of the country. According to a prediction by the Institute for Touristic Research and Forecasts (ITEP), the number of tourists in Greek resorts will increase in 2010 by 2-3 percent, but at the same time the income generated from these inbound tourists will continue to decrease, following the trend that began in 2008.
Tourism to Greece is concentrated during the summer months due to its promotion as a ‘sun, sea, and sand’ product. With increasing competition from neighboring countries like Turkey and Croatia, which are out of the euro-zone and able to offer lower prices, Greece has some tough elements to contend with.
ITTFA member Philoxenia continues to play a significant role in bolstering and promoting the Greek product, both to its local markets and internationally. Philoxenia is the top meeting place for entrepreneurs in the tourism sector across the broader region of Southeastern Mediterranean, offering a forum where international experiences are exchanged in a creative manner. Its 25 years of successful history in the field of tourism exhibitions, with HELEXPO guaranteeing its consistent progress in the future, Philoxenia 2010 will again provide an event that where participants can expand their business and find ways to support their enterprises during this difficult year for tourism.
The tourism industry has proven to be a very resilient economic activity in the past and last minute bookings along with a set of measures taken by the Greek government in support of tourism may help improve the situation and mitigate the negative effects of the current crisis. There is also hope on the horizon with the growth in new markets and an expected increase in visitors from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
A major strong point of Philoxenia is the role it has played acting as a stimulus for the developments of the Balkan market and the importance that modern tourism enterprises have in these developments”, says Project Manager for Philoxenia, Chrissa Krassa. “Helexpo has promoted Philoxenia to key Balkan companies and state tourism organizations in a variety of ways and the geopolitical position of Thessaloniki, is an asset in attracting business from these new markets”.
Looking ahead, numerous tourism infrastructure projects have changed Greece’s tourism profile and Greece is creating new products to attract tourists. Its main target is to re-build its high season but also to work harder at becoming a year round destination.
PHILOXENIA 2010, will be held from 18 to 21 of November, in Thessaloniki, Greece. See www.philoxenia.travel for more information.
ITTFA is dedicated to the continual development of the travel trade show industry, increasing participation and setting high standards worldwide. For details on all ITTFA members please visit www.ittfa.org