Late bookings fuel tourism expectations

An increase in last-minute reservations since July could push revenues from tourism past 10 billion euros in the second half of 2016 and give a much-needed boost to the country’s struggling economy, according to tourism industry authorities.

Judging from recent trends, arrivals for 2016 should clear 25 million – not including cruise liner passengers – setting a new record. This will come as a great relief to the industry, as arrivals in the year’s first half yielded 3.93 billion euros, down 5.8 percent on the same period last year.

However, according to booking figures published by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), the July-September period is expected to post a boom in revenues. Reservations in July from Poland, for instance, are up 22.5 percent year-on-year, while bookings from the UK also rose 21.3 percent. The increases from Austria and the Netherlands were 15.8 and 11.7 percent respectively.

SETE chief Andreas Andreadis noted a spike in bookings for flights to Greece in the next two months as the general trends are fueling optimism within the industry that the summer season could extend into October.

The general euphoria is, however, not shared by refugee gateway islands in the northern Aegean such as Lesvos, Samos and Chios, where revenues have sunk compared to previous years.

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