by Constantine St. Deriziotis
Committed to my appointment, as I have been doing for the last 20 years, I have also been to Berlin and Moscow this year for ITB and MITT.
Amidst rumors about … earthquakes, pestilences, grumbling of Greek tourism, for 2019, I was curious to see what I … see.
So I saw a lot of interesting things, talking primarily (and I did not see, hear, carry me, etc., etc.), with those who either receive or significantly influence decisions.
Of course we should not forget that the one who takes the final decision is THE HIS MAJESTY, each tourist separately, where it is obviously impossible to talk to anyone, with 30 million tourists, not even the 3 million Germans, or the almost 1 million Russians, who choose Greece for their holidays.
So what did I see this year in these two reports …
The German travel industry supports Greece
So, in ITB, what I saw is summarized as follows:
- The German market is at its “bottom” and its overall size, in terms of bookings, is significantly lower than in the corresponding period last year.
- Those who attempt to explain this phenomenon focus on two factors: climate change and very hot summer last summer, and the slowdown in the German economy, which is moving upwards, but at a slower pace than expected.
- The course of Greece in the SPECIFIC German market is very good, as it moves around zero compared to last year (BS is little important if it is currently at + 2% or -2%), when Spain is to -20%, Turkey to + 18%, with the total German market at -9%, according to safer calculations.
- The bookings do not take into account, Last Minute, which has grown considerably in recent years, as well as online bookings, which are mostly made by channels regardless of the major tour operators.
- Greece is “systematically” accommodated by all major tour operators due to the excellent relationship it has developed. I have written in my article in the October issue of MONEY & TOURISM: “In a favorite” child “of the international tourist community, Greece has transformed, after a period of ghastly, bad relations due to the economic insolvency of the Greek Tourism Organization and some tourism ministers.
Recognizing important positions in international fora, such as the World Tourism Organization and many others, and their conquest by Greek candidates, but especially the intense upgrading of relations with major tour operators, adds another dimension and importance to Greek Tourism, apart from the self-evident , due to the country’s natural beauty and excellent hotel infrastructure. In the recent past, top tour operators, at least, faced Greece, the Greek National Tourism Organization and the Ministry of Tourism, as some political superiors, promised money and then forget, like the Greek state, is the neighborhood “chandler.
It was impressive in Berlin that top executives of the big tour operators were…. more optimistic than their subordinates and pointed out that the figures they have calculated for Greece will be achieved.
THE GOOD RELATIONS WITH THE TOUR OPERATORS ARE COMMON IMPORTANT, AND NOW WE RECEIVE THEM, WE WOULD LIKE TO REMOVE THEM AS OVERHEAD.
- Large tour operators, in order to increase their sales, have significantly reduced their profit margins, and this is very important for their self-sustainability and sustainability, as well as their suppliers (see bankruptcies of airlines).
- The budget of the Greek state for Greek tourism is laughable. And there is no comparison with Turkey, where the Turkish state, along with Turkish Airlines, is spending hundreds of millions of euros but it is really disappointing that all the small and medium-sized countries in the region have a budget of over € 50 million when Greece we have 14 million !!! And for those who laugh, let’s say that the Egyptian stand at ITB cost an amount close to € 2 million …
- all the Greeks found in Berlin saw with pleasure that things were much better than the legendary ones, and this was reflected in their statements, which were transferred to money-tourism.gr.
- the year will be difficult, it needs continuous monitoring, but at the moment the figures are higher than 2017, which was the second best year in the history of Greek tourism and with effort, it is possible to “approach”, more or less, the sizes of 2018.
- revenue rather than arrivals will be the big bet where bids are likely to hit the proceeds. Last year, big offers were made on August and September. And here’s what Yiannis Retsos has said in his interview at money-tourism.gr: the € 500 million that will probably be missed by Greek Tourism is a relatively important issue. But it is not a “disaster” for Tourism. On the contrary, this lag, corresponding to half a unit of GDP, is much more important for the Greek economy ..
- the stabilization of Greece in these sizes is very important, before starting a new upward cycle.
- Elena Kountoura has seen people and people in the show and not only, showing a remarkable mobility, which “adds” to Greek Tourism. Besides, the consecutive awards of Greek Tourism “add” to Greek tourism and not a person individually …
- the climate in the Greek pavilion was excellent and the traffic exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts
- Cyprus seems to have a difficult year, mainly due to lack of airline positions
Reflection in Moscow
In Moscow, the main findings are as follows:
- the Greeks are discrediting this market as the Greek booth has had the lowest number of entries in recent years, while many Greek kiosks were missing around the GNTO stand.
- the Russian market remains at all levels immature, as the ruble remains very high. With euro-ruble parity at 75, compared to 40 just a few years ago, and 90 for a short time, definitely outgoing Tourism in the euro area has issues …
- in 2019 it will be a good year, unless we succeed in the last years, which I remind you is the best since 2013, which was the best year of history, will be a great success.
- the EOT office in Moscow and the CIS countries do a great job, and organizing an event in the GUM emblem on the Red Square for Russian celebrities made a difference this year !!!
- most Russian tour operators are giving evidence of a surge in Moscow, with the exception of a few Turkish t.o’s interests.
- last year the bookings were increased compared to 2017, by more than 25%. Then we all saw what followed.
- this year Turkey is present momentarily, and not last year. Hence, the numbers that Greece makes are from conscious customers, who choose quality and do not look at the price.
- Visa are evolving without problems. However, more visa centers are needed and they consider Visa to be longer than one year, which is the rule in the visa.
- the visit to the Greek pavilion was good.
- the representation of Greek tour operators was very small.
Τhese few, good times to have everyone, and our health to get back to Berlin and Moscow.
Any contradiction accepted…