We’ve already posted the preliminary results of the
summer season in Greece
by Russian tour operators. Today the issue will be addressed by the receiving
side. The unanimous opinion is that the season is going good so far, and the
success of sales depends on the destination and accommodation. The overall
increase in Russian tourism is about 30% compared to 2011. Market
representatives are cautious about the forecasts, because by the end of
September the numbers might change. But mostly they agree with their Russian
counterparts that the sales are good this year.
Dimitris Kharitidis, Head of development at Aldemar
hotels, openly says that his company has introduced special prices for some of
the dates. Yet the company’s hotels on Rhodes are packed throughout the whole
season and don’t need any special deals: “Every year our hotels in Rhodes show about a 38% growth in the Russian segment”.
The same situation can be seen on Crete,
where the increase in guests varies from 20% to 39% depending on the hotel. By
now Aldemar hotels on Crete are almost fully
booked for most of September and October. Except some days in late August and
early September, which are sold for special prices, due to being unpopular. A
good dynamic can be seen on the Peloponnes peninsula, which received 110% more
tourists, compared to last year.
Oksana Nikityuk, General Representative of Grecotel in
notes the rise of Russian tourist activity: “Last year Russians composed 27% of
our company’s clients. This year we’re expecting a lot more”. Grecotel, like
most Greek hotels, has not increased the price for accommodation in the last
three years. This year the early booking program yielded some great results.
According to the expert, “the sales are way higher than last year”. For now the
booking depth is about 2 weeks and less, with many last minute bookings. “We
are seeing a little decrease in August. But the velvet season is ahead, which
is more popular with European tourists rather than with Russian visitors”, -
added Mrs. Nikityuk. According to her, Greece is still only a beach-resort
for Russians, and is not a very popular destination during low season.
“Our business is doing better than it did in the last
two years. The number of tourist stays the same despite our 20% increase in
prices. Russians usually amount to 35-40% of our guests”, - says Viktor
Dimitrov, regional marketing and sales manager at Sani Hotels. And 40% of the
tourists are loyal, returning customers, who stay for three weeks and more.
Mr. Dimotrov noted that this year, for the first time
in a decade, the company did not have to introduce summer sales. The rooms were
being actively booked even at standard prices. “We had to reject some of our
guests, because our capacity was used up”. June is the most popular month among
Russian tourists, followed by July and August. There already are some special
deals on September and October. Mr. Dimitrov also pointed out that premium
hotels in Greece
are gaining popularity, whereas “standard” 5-star hotels with AI service have
some trouble selling their rooms and often do so at the last moment.
General manager of Mouzenidis Travel, Lika Zosimidu
confirms a significant growth of the Russian tourist flow this year. In her
company it amounted to about 40-50%: “I think it has to do with Greece really opening up towards Russia this
year, especially after the Germans and the British markets started to go down.
And hoteliers are really thankful for the support from the Russian market”.
Accordin to Mrs. Zosimidu, this year there were just as many special deals from
hotels. The difference to previous years being that this time companies didn’t
have to ask for these deals, hotels offered them themselves. The early booking
sale, which ended in April, gave a 30% sales increase, compared to 2011.
Mrs. Zosimidu is confident that she will not end the
season in the red. And so far, she is content with the results of this summer.
“There are lots of talks about the economic crisis in Greece. But I
can assure you, it doesn’t affect the tourists one bit”, - she added.
Head of Open Way tours, Manolis Kiziridis is less
optimistic. He admits that the tourist flow from Russia increased, but the overall
revenue is down. “Tourists spend less than before. And our prices have dropped.
Last year Russians mostly stayed in 5-star hotels. Now they prefer 4-star
accommodation. They take only one excursion instead of the regular 2-3. And the
standard car rental duration dropped to two days instead of five, - explains
Mr. Kiziridis. – And in the end - we have less profit. We make enough to pay
the wages, but there is little left to develop the business”.
Manolis Kiziridis rated this season a “seven out of
ten”. He made a good point, saying that maybe this year will be a turning
point, when market players realize that they have to work on their service
instead of just dumping prices in order to get their client. Mr. Kiziridis also
thinks that the quality of itineraries should increase, so that a tourist could
evaluate his vacation by saying: “I made the right choice to come to this
country. And I chose the right tour operator”.