The report on the flows of tourists who liked the smaller island destinations of the country reflects a pretty good picture.
Although, due to their geographical position, small islands cannot compete with such large destinations as Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, but the tourism income supporting their economy is what largely determines the stability of the situation outside the tourist season.
The islands of the Saronic Gulf of Sikinos, Kalymnos, Astypalea, Ios, Skopelos, Naxos, Paros, Lipsi, Elafonisos, located at the southern tip of the Peloponnese and Andros, according to experts, “unexpectedly successfully” completed the peak of the tourist season.
According to preliminary data, the occupancy of these and most of the other islands of the country exceeded 85%, especially in August, with their residents pinning their hopes on both September and October – the months that could increase the total income from tourism.
Aegina is once again a major domestic tourism destination this year, as occupancy rates were high on the second largest island in the Saronic Gulf for two months from July to August, according to Stavros Kalamakis, President of the Island Hoteliers’ Association. In fact, it is possible that the data of the port authorities, which will be published from day to day, will also show growth compared to 2019.
The southern region of the Peloponnese, its island zone and especially Elafonisos in August showed occupancy rates from 90% to 100%, with the inhabitants of Greece also making up the majority of the guests.
Island Mayor Efstatia Liaru highlighted the importance of Greek one-day visits to the nearby island, noting that this is a “tonic injection” for the local economy.
This year, the island of Astypalea again aroused great interest among Greeks and foreign visitors, recording an impressive stream of bookings with a 100% booking rate (from July 20 to the end of August). The lion’s share of applications related to domestic tourism, the percentage of which, according to economists’ estimates, exceeded 50%, but the number of foreign tourists was also significant.
The island loved by a famous Greek poet Odysseus Elitis, has experienced one of the best tourist seasons this year, surpassing even 2019, at least so says the mayor of the island, Vasilis Marakis. The official stressed that the universal vaccination of the inhabitants of the island has been “hugely important in increasing traffic.” Sikinos, with 270 permanent residents, welcomes up to 15,000 visitors during the summer season.
The summer season turned out to be surprisingly good for the island of Kalymnos, a place that for years has been practicing the extension of the tourist season due to rock climbing.
Nikos Tsagaris, President of the Island Hotel Owners Association, told APE-MPE that this year’s revenues will be 50% higher than the 2019 season, as occupancy in July and August exceeded all expectations. The outlook for September and October is especially good, as climbers are already arriving on the island for the second period of the ascent (from early September to mid-November, the first two months from April to May). In a good climbing season, climbers are estimated to have 15,000 arrivals, up from 8,000 climbers expected this year.
On Ios, August has shown itself to be 90% of tourist property bookings. Greeks, family and non-families, have shown their preference for this island. As for foreigners, the arrival of mainly Italians, French and British was recorded, the mayor of the island notes.
Reservations for hotels and other tourist properties in Skopelos peaked in August, approaching 100% occupancy.
Mayor Fotis Mangos said that this summer season was a big surprise for him. August passed with almost 100% occupancy of tourist accommodation. “The vast majority of the visitors were Greek and Italians. We also hope to extend the tourist season in September and October. This tendency in the past years was not so obvious, ”the mayor emphasized.
Paros and Naxos
The crowds of tourists on the traditionally popular islands for tourists, Paros and Naxos, this season were no less than in the record-breaking 2019.
It looks like Paros is winning the bet to cover the lost ground compared to last year, as not only did it have no losses, according to the July data, but even came close to the results of 2019. Tourist arrivals in July reached 85% of pre-pandemic tourists in the same month of 2019.
According to the port authorities, 130,018 visitors arrived on the island in July 2021, compared to 151,896 who arrived on the island in the corresponding month of 2019.
The data for August, which is still being calculated, will probably exceed the corresponding figures for the same month in 2019. And if the epidemiological situation does not worsen, this year will end with results that could exceed the most optimistic forecasts.
As for Naxos, the island’s tourist accommodation reached 100% in August, showing an even higher percentage than in 2019. “It should be recognized that the quality of services, the variety of offers and competitive prices have attracted Greeks, French, Americans, Italians and Germans to us,” said Vangelis Katsaras, Deputy Mayor for Tourism of Naxos and Small Cyclades.
The tourist accommodation occupancy in August also exceeded all expectations, showing impressive figures from 95% to 100%, said the deputy mayor of the island of Andros Nikos Moustakas.
On the island, the occupancy rate of tourist accommodation in August exceeded all expectations, the occupancy rate of hotels and other tourist accommodation options showed a real 100%. Taverns, shops and nightlife venues were overflowing with visitors. Tourists and residents of mainland Greece happily plunged into the atmosphere of carefree relaxation, trying to erase the period of quarantine and pandemic from their memory.
The report of tourist traffic from the large islands, as well as from the resorts of the mainland of the country, is expected to be presented in the near future and, apparently, its indicators will also be very encouraging.