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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2 Responses to A look back at the tourist season 2016

  1. Jerry Glover says:

    What I see is that a cruise ship will dock at Souda with X thousand occupants, and the government will trumpet the arrival of another “X” thousand tourists. But the cruise ship is on its very last leg of its cruise before heading to Piraeus, and the tourists have long since bought their souvenirs and aren’t jumping at the chance to go see Hania. They don’t spend money. So the government gets to say everything is wonderful, but in fact, the influx or tourists hasn’t done much for the island. I stood behind two Americans at Athens airport in July as they compared notes. They had been on separate cruises that ended with a stop in Souda, and both agreed that they had had enough and didn’t do much (let alone spend much). Lots of statistics… signifying not much alas.

    • Jean says:

      I didn’t even think of the cruises when I wrote my initial post. Of course cruise passengers will add to the numbers but in Crete they are still a small part of the arrivals (100.000 passengers maybe? this is off the top of my head) and don’t stay long and sleep on the ships. But true, when the first regular cruise ships came to Chania / Souda a few years back people were expecting them to be big spenders and it turned out not to be the case at all.
      But being on a cruise ship is very much like being in an All Inclusive hotel…the money goes elsewhere.

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