Tourism is booming in Greece. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, the number of international tourist arrivals has grown more than 1.5 times in the past seven years. Euromonitor International has included Athens in the top three tourist destinations in European, and the number of tourists is growing faster than anywhere else. According to analysts, the number of tourist arrivals will grow by another 10% in 2017.
How has the growing popularity of Athens affected the hospitality industry, and how has this market changed in the past 15 years?
The Olympic Games effect:
Before the financial crisis of 2008, Athens had a growing number of tourists. In 2003, the Athens International Airport saw 7.89 million international arrivals. By 2008, this figure had grown 34% to 10.58 million.
The 2004 Olympic Games was instrumental in increasing the attractiveness of Athens as a tourist destination –
According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Athens hotels saw 1.27 million stays among foreign tourists in 2003, but this number fell to 1.2 million the following year, when the Olympics was held. However, as the flow of tourists gradually increased, the number of hotel stays grew. Between 2003 and 2007, the number of hotel stays increased by 41%.
According to HVS Global Hospitality Services, the number of hotels in Athens fell from 458 to 454 between 2003 and 2007, while the number
According to a Deloitte study, the revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Athens grew from €73 to €96, or more than 30%, between 2003 and 2007. The average daily rate (ADR) increased from €126 to €142 during this period, and the occupancy rate grew from 57.7% to 67.3%.
A city in crisis:
The global financial crisis of 2008, coupled with
The number of tourist arrivals fell 22%, from 10.58 million to 8.24 million, between 2007 and 2013. However, according to a poll carried out by GBR Consulting among people who visited Athens between 2009 and 2013, more than 90% of the respondents said they wanted to visit again and would recommend the city to their friends.
It is noteworthy that such a dramatic fall in tourist arrivals did not affect the number of hotel stays more significantly – the number of hotel stays fell by only 14%, from 1.8 million to 1.55 million, during the same period.
The number of hotels fell from 454 to 422 during this period. According to HVS, although there was almost no change in number of hotels rated
The fall in tourist arrivals, alongside
In autumn 2013, the situation began to improve: protests subsided, and news about the Greek crisis in international media was gradually waning. Unemployment, which peaked at 27.8% in 2013, was also gradually declining. According to Elstat, in August 2017 the unemployment rate dropped to 20.6%. IMF has forecast the Greek economy to grow 1.8% in 2017.
The number of international tourist arrivals grew during this period. According to airport statistics, there was a 56% growth in tourist arrivals between 2013 and 2016, from 8.24 million to 12.87 million. in 2017, a new record high is expected, as there were already 12.48 million international arrivals by October.
The number of foreign tourists staying in hotels grew by 30%, from 1.55 million to 2.02 million, between 2013 and 2016. The total number of hotels, on the contrary, fell from 417 in 2013 to 404 in 2016. However, this drop has increased the quality of the supply – while in 2013,
All this comes against the backdrop of new competition in the hospitality industry – home sharing, which has become an economical alternative to hotel stays. Today, Airbnb, the largest online platform