It’s not just Mykonos and Santorini. Which “outsiders” scored high this year’s tourist season

It’s not just Mykonos and Santorini. Which “outsiders” scored high this year’s tourist season
It’s not just Mykonos and Santorini. Which “outsiders” scored high this year’s tourist season

Summer is connected to the sea, summer dives and food where the waves crash. However, as time passes and the thirst of tourists to explore new landscapes and experience new experiences becomes insatiable, the “sun – sea” model is considered obsolete. The Greek islands is the trademark, however, more alternative destinations are gradually gaining ground, which allows depopulation in some areas, but at the same time contributes to a more equitable distribution of wealth by limiting the phenomenon of “two-speed tourism” within the country.

Although the tourist season is still underway, with September to record high returns and in October moving to satisfactory pre-booking levels, the general feeling is that the Hellas brand remains timeless and has several aces up its “sleeve” that have not been exploited. Destinations that were considered outsiders this year had their due, after they managed to achieve occupancy and enter the radar of foreign tourists who invest in contact with nature.

Kastoria, Alexandroupoli, Ioannina and Zagorochoria are some of the destinations that have become a magnet for those who prefer road travel, love sports such as rafting, climbing, hiking and horse riding and choose value for money hub locations that are close to areas that are wet from the sea.

Epirus of the four seasons

“After two years of COVID people enjoyed the mountains. Epirus must have done better as a region in percentage growth than all the rest of the country and especially the prefecture of Ioannina with Zagori, the Jumerka, the Mastrohoria and Konitsa moved +50% compared to last year. The motto “The Continent of the Four Seasons” we see it being applied in practice as the wider area transforms from a traditional winter destination to a summer one. We see visits, not only to the beaches, which is logical because they have a sea, but also more overnight stays in mountainous areas in the summer months” points out to Fortune Greece Nikolaos Petsios, Vice President of the ZEN initiative and Owner of Zagori Suites.

He states that ten years ago 90% of overnight stays were recorded in the winter period, while now 60% of overnight stays take place in the summer months and the remaining 40% in the winter months. The wider area has become known abroad and receives tourism from Israel, central Europe, this year from America, Australia and Asia. In this development, the road axes played a catalytic role, since a tourist can land in Thessaloniki and in a very short time be in Epirus by road without suffering.

“The nature is uncontaminated, there are geoparks and several places that have been recognized by UNESCO and of course there is no overcrowding that is observed on the islands. Until October 28th we have large occupancy rates from foreign tourists, while I believe that November and December will be sluggish months, however there will be a boost from the social tourism program of the OAED where with 560 euros for a family of four the motivation is great, but also from the Vouchers “Tourism for All” concludes Mr. Petsios.

Alexandroupolis turns into must destination

Alexandroupolis, the “jewel” of Thrace, is looking for its place on the world tourist map, characterized by its rich cultural heritage, history and culinary culture. Only 102 years have passed since its inclusion in the Greek territory and it is one of the newest cities in Greece, since it was founded as a simple fishing village in the middle of the 19th century and has now developed into a popular tourist destination.

The Thracian cuisine, boating in the Delta of the Evros, the thermal springs in the Traianoupolis Baths, as well as the visit to the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus who, according to Homer, was blinded by Odysseus, are some of the experiences that one must experience.

“Alexandroupoli also participated in its own way in the success story of Greek tourism as this year was the most “strong” summer compared to any other year. Hotels and restaurants hit record bookings with numbers recorded and visible to anyone who strolled along the town’s seafront, which buzzed with life every night and into the early hours. Clearly, the strategy we follow in tourism contributed to this – we work with the goal of extroversion and the promotion of our place internationally – as well as the participation of the Municipality of Alexandroupolis in international tourism exhibitions and also the air connection with Heraklion, Crete” states the Mayor of Alexandroupolis, Ioannis Zamboukis.

He also emphasizes that Alexandroupoli is a destination for everyone, while he pledges to continue the hard work seeking a continuous presence in tourist events and new air connections with more destinations at home and abroad.

The Furs, the Ukrainians and Kastoria

In the last decade, the residents of Kastoria have bet on extroversion, expanding the mix of tourists visiting the area. Given that fur production is a highly profitable activity with strong demand from Russian and Ukrainian tourists who make up 25% of the tourist traffic, the war in Ukraine changed the situation and businesses had to immediately think of a plan b.

Fortunately the gap was filled by the Israel, her Poland, her Switzerland and the Romania and the summer seems to close with numbers that were usually seen only in the winter season. August started with occupancies approaching 100% on weekends and the figures for September are also very encouraging. Tourist traffic for June this year exceeded 2019 by 11% and July by 21.2% over 2019 figures.

The rebound of Samos

Samos, which was also faced with fires this summer, managed to maintain the tourist flow at high levels as a safe destination with a rich cultural heritage and unique local products.

According to Giorgos Fterogiannis, President of the Samos Hoteliers Union, the island of Pythagoras showed quick reflexes and recovered in short order from being hit by the fiery blaze, leaving hotel and restaurant professionals satisfied. “The Samos Pass issued by the government gave the island a significant boost. Occupancy reached the same levels as in 2019. More than 50% of tourist traffic came from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, while we had demand from Czechs and Slovenians. September is progressing satisfactorily as Samos is still full of people,” emphasizes Mr. Fterogiannis, adding that the average overnight stay is one to two weeks.

“Whoever comes to Samos stays for days. Of course, there are many who choose the solution of a one-day excursion to Patmos or Turkey, but in general they do not combine their stay here with a stay on another island.”

The article is in Greek

Tags: Mykonos Santorini outsiders scored high years tourist season

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