By Maydaa Abo El-Nadar
The economic crisis in Greece did not affect the high flow of tourists going there from different countries worldwide.
Regarding Arab tourism in Greece, Lebanese tourists represented the vast majority of Arab tourism visiting the famous Greek island of Santorini from March until September 2015 due to their better financial status, Panayiotis Kyriazis, Excursions and Transfer Supervisor at the Hellenic Island Services in Santorini, told Daily News Egypt.
Australia and Americans make up most of the guests from March until September 2015, according to Caveland’s, a hostel located in Santorini, statistics. Guests from the UK and France, among other European countries, also represented a high number. Over the same period, only one Egyptian and one Iranian tourist reserved rooms at the hostel.
“There used to be Egyptian tourists visiting, but not so much as before this summer,” said Craig Michael Walzer, one of the owners of Atlantis Books, a bookshop in Santorini.
Over the past few years, Arab Gulf tourism changed its direction from Egypt to Turkey and Greece. Antonis Miyakis, Director of Services Abroad of the Public Relations Department at the Greek National Tourist Organisation affiliated to the Greek Ministry of Tourism, told Daily News Egypt the number of Gulf tourists has been increasing recently. However, this increase is not very marked.
Miyakis said the number of Egyptian tourists in Greece over the years is very small and the number of Lebanese tourists was high. Tourists from Algeria and Tunisia have been visiting, but their numbers were not high. They mainly came to attend conferences held in Athens, and then during their free days, visited Athens’ tourist attractions.
Prices in Greece may seem cheap for tourists, but Miyakis said because of the exchange difference between the euro and the Egyptian pound, visiting Greece for modest economic classes in Egypt would be expensive.
The three lowest cost airlines – EasyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air, based in Britain, Ireland and Hungary, respectively – were one of the main reasons behind the high flow of European tourists to Greece. By the beginning of the summer of 2015, the three companies already launched direct flights from various European cities and capitals to the Greek capital of Athens, and to other Greek cities such as Thessaloniki, Kalamata, Patras, and Preveza; and to the Greek islands Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, and Zakynthos.
Despite the distance between Greece and Australia, New Zealand, Canada, East Asia, and North and South America, a high number of tourists from these regions have visited Greece over the year.