A look back at the tourist season 2016

Chania harbour in the evening

Chania harbour in the evening

The tourist season 2016 is winding down and by early November most charter flights to Crete will have taken the last tourists away.
It seems that most Cretans who have businesses in tourism have had a satisfying season.

Crete and Greece benefited a lot from problems in North Africa and Turkey (Greece’s main competitor which is now perceived as unsafe).
Unfortunately a poor knowledge of geography made people believe that Crete was overrun with refugees coming by boat and that idea kept a number of people away and possibly choosing other destinations such as Spain or Italy.  As far as I know there was only one single boat arrival of a few refugees in the South-East of Crete in 2016.

Total numbers of tourists were up a little (on an already record breaking 2015) but numbers don’t tell the whole story: there is an increase in All Inclusive holidays in large resorts and those bring very little benefit to the islanders.  So higher numbers don’t necessarily mean better business.
On the other hand businesses in places that cater to independent holiday makers are doing well in the West of the island because Ryanair (who has a hub at Chania airport) bring lots of independent travellers.

The trend towards later holidays continues: after a poor start in April and May business picked up in summer and the autumn season has been very busy. September and the first half of October is gradually becoming the new high season. On the other hand August was not that great for some, mainly because many Greeks who traditionally holiday in August can’t afford holidays any more.

Finally, everybody complains that any money they make is swallowed by increased taxation. I think that they have a point.

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