Last-minute tours to Turkey attracted a part of tourists from Greece
According to the Russian Border Guard Service, the number of trips from Russia to Greece with purpose of tourism for 9 months of this year decreased by 10%, amounting to 561 000 people against 623 000 in the same period in 2018. In the list of the most popular destinations, the country declined from the 4 to the 5 position. Te statistics on the number of passengers arriving on flights from Russia to the country's most popular airports (Athens, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Corfu) is similar. Over the period from January to October 2019, 579 700 guests from Russia entered Greece through these airports, while for the same period last year this indicator was 626 800. Thus, the decline was 7,5%. The largest negative trend was shown by the most popular tourist destination - Crete, where the decline was 12,4%. Corfu has almost the same figure. The situation is more optimistic in the north of the country: only 1,25% fewer travelers came to Greece through the airport of Thessaloniki.
The managing director of Tez Tour Greece Dimitris Charitidis drew attention to the fact that in recent years the number of guests from Russia has remained at approximately the same level. The difference is no more than 10% in one destination or another. He calls the market situation as normal, and by the way, the data from five airports are not enough to finalize the season. The official statistics of Greece, taking into account all the arrivals of tourists, shows that by the end of the year the drop in tourist flow from Russia will not exceed 5%.
According to Alexander Tsandekidis, the head of Muzenidis Travel company, airport statistics were affected by changes in the work of a number of tour operators for which the main destination is not Greece, but Turkey. This year they noticeably adjusted their programs, focusing specifically in favor of Turkish resorts. A large number of flights were announced there, which led to lower prices for tours. While on the Greek destination the number of “burning” tours decreased. Talking about Mouzenidis, he notes an increase of 20% in the summer, and by the end of the year he expects plus 5-7%. “As a result of early booking campaign, we already have a double increase in volumes compared to the same period last year. Many tourists began to order hotels of a budget category. If a year earlier, 50-60% of the total sales volume were hotels 5* now up to 75% are 3-4* hotels,” he said.
“We do not see a decrease in interest for Greece, our sales have grown by 15%. Perhaps the statistics differ among cities, as some operators in the regions reduced and even canceled their flight programs. And from Moscow, transportation volumes have grown. We took blocks of seats on charters and scheduled flights. Early booking is still at the level of 2018,” said Panteon CEO Anatoly Garkushin.
Experts predict that in 2020 the tourist flow from Russia to Greece will grow a little. For example, the general director of Ambotis Holidays, Vitaly Stamatov notes the positive sign - the growth in early booking of Greece is quite good, especially in the expensive segment. It is significant that tour operators, for which Greece is the main destination, practically did not reduce their flight programs during 2019, and at least they intend to do the same in the coming year.