Lemnos is a consistently popular destination, Samos is reaching 90% occupancies, Lesvos is moving towards 2019 levels despite difficulties at the start of the tourist season, while Chios and Ikaria are also recording very high occupancies
At the levels of 2019 and in some cases even better, tourism is moving in islands of the North Aegean Region also known as eastern Sporades, creating smiles of optimism for a possible close of the season on a positive note.
Of the major islands, Lemnos is a consistently popular destination, Samos notes Occupancies reaching 90%, Lesbos is moving at 2019 levels despite the difficulties at the start of the tourist season, while Chios and Ikaria are also recording very high occupancy rates. They are islands that have their own special beauty combining the green of nature with the blue of the sea, gradually developing their infrastructure and gaining more and more “fans” year by year.
Speaking to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, the North Aegean representative at the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (XEE) and president of the Limnos Hoteliers Association, Stelios Mantzaris, says that the tourist traffic in most islands of the North Aegean is good and satisfactory for the data, but the overall picture will it shows at the end of the season, where we hope to have a positive account.
In Lemnos during this period “no pin falls”, as he typically says, while even more important is the fact that new hotels are constantly opening and investments are being made on the island, as the demand grows.
Today the Lemnos has 38 hotels and 80 rental room complexes while the number of beds during 2020-2021 increased by 12%.
“We started the season in May and today the occupancy rates are 10 to 15% higher compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Of course, we will see the average at the end, having the overall picture from May to October”, notes Mr. Mantzaris .
The island is dominated by foreign tourists with a small difference from the Greeks who have a percentage of around 45%.
It is mainly preferred by travelers from northern Europe, while there are also quite a few Balkans, such as Romanians and Bulgarians, most of whom travel by road.
“Lemnos is an island that has a lot to offer and is becoming more and more popular year by year. This year we expect a total of 43 cruise ships on the island, while last year we only had 10. The figures are encouraging,” said Mr. Mantzaris, adding: “In general, however, and this concerns most of the northern Aegean islands, we still need infrastructure development and tourism education”.
The Samos Pass is a big boost for Samos
For occupancies that average reach 90% said Manos Valis, president of the Samos Hoteliers’ Association, while he emphasized that several hotels will exceed by at least 10%, the corresponding occupancies of 2019.
“The Samos Pass has given a huge boost to the tourist traffic of the island, as it has helped many Greeks, who have been affected by punctuality and energy costs. It also gave the opportunity and was an occasion for many people to come to the island and get to know it”, noted Mr. Valis.
“Our tourists from abroad mainly come from Scandinavia. Holland, Germany while we expect even more Greeks in August and September”, he emphasized.
Regarding the infrastructure of Samos, the president of the Hoteliers’ Union said that they are excellent as there is an organized hospital, a remarkable airport, a good road network and two ports, Vathi and Karlovasi. “We lack nothing but investment. As an example, I mention that Casa Cook Samos is the only investment made in the last 20 years, which of course is very important”, added Mr. Valis.
Lesbos, Ikaria and Chios with an increased flow of tourists
Since the start of the social tourism program, the picture of Lesvos tourism has changed for the better, as the season has already started with halved charter flights compared to 2019, which means less tourism from abroad, such as points out the president of the Association of Hoteliers of Lesbos, Dimitris Vatis. “In 2019 we had over 30 charters per week and this year we have 15. In May and June the market did not have much tourism from abroad and Greeks do not usually prefer this period to go on vacation. Now, however, occupancy is very high, there is great demand and we are reaching the levels of 2019. We are optimistic that we will close the season with a smile”, notes Mr. Vatis.
In Lesvos most foreign tourists come from the Netherlands, Belgium, England, the Scandinavian countries and Poland.
Europeans and Americans are the tourists who choose Ikaria, which traditionally had more Greeks in the months of July and August, this year things have changed, as reported by Theodoros Adriotis, president of the Ikaria Hoteliers Association, who points out that the budget of the Greek has decreased while ticket prices increased.
However, the island, which has about 5000 beds, is full, the professionals, he says, are happy at this stage and are waiting for the end of the season to make an overall assessment.
At Chios Occupancies exceed 90% during this period, as the president of the Chios Hoteliers’ Union Antigoni Maistralis notes, however, the vacation period has decreased. “We work mainly with Greeks as for the last three years we have not had organized flights from abroad. We have of course been supported by the social tourism program, which attracted a large number of tourists from northern Greece due to the connection with Kavala”, he adds.
The island needs to upgrade its infrastructure and an effort is still needed to increase its visitors. The professionals, however, do not sit idly by, as they create synergies such as that of the Private Tourism Agency and it concerns all those involved in the tourism business by connecting Chiotian hospitality, with Chiotian taste and Chiotian land, as explained by Ms. Maistralis.
Chios has around 5000 beds and has a high percentage of tourists from Turkey as well, which boosts the local economy
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