Aussies biggest spenders in Greece

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Australians spend more and stay longer in Greece than any other nationality, according to new figures released by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises.Some 100,000 Aussies travel to Greece each year, many visiting friends and family. On average we’re spending €1420 ($1820) per trip, and we stay 12 days longer than most other nationalities, with the next biggest spenders being Canadians (€1207), Americans (€1098) and Russians (€1005). Tourism accounts for 16 per cent of Greece’s gross domestic product and according to the Bank of Greece people visiting Greece spent €9.77 billion in the country in the financial year 2011-2012, compared with €10.18 billion in 2010-2011. Melbourne-based holiday operator Cox & Kings, one of the major Australian suppliers of holidays to Greece and which handles 40,000 passengers a year into Europe, says that the marked decline in passenger numbers to Greece in 2012, brought about by negative media coverage, has now been halted.Steve Reynolds, Cox & Kings chief executive, told Neos Kosmos: “We’re trading about 60 per cent up on bookings to Greece against the same period last year. “Greece has an enduring popularity with the Australian public and the statistics released highlight that.”Mr Reynolds says that while the Cyclades continue to be the most popular destination for Australians, a more adventurous spirit was seeing Aussies wanting to explore the road less travelled.“Australians have a love affair with Mykonos and Santorini, but more now want to travel to the lesser known islands like Ithaca and Zakynthos, and the mainland is becoming more popular. “We’re featuring coastal resorts within 90 minutes drive of Athens – the diversity of product that Australians are buying is also growing as well as the numbers returning, so it’s a double positive.”Christina Kalogera, director of the Greek National Tourism Organisation which is responsible for promoting Greece in Australia and New Zealand, says the latest figures bode well for the 2013 season.“Greece is safe and welcoming, and not just a must-see destination for those who have never been before. More than 16 million people visit Greece every year and they leave with the best impressions.“For those that return, there is always more to see, do, feel, and experience. Each village, city, and island is a unique destination just waiting to be discovered.”Ms Kalogera said that in the third quarter of 2012, tourist numbers into Greece from Australia was up by nearly nine per cent. “This is very encouraging, and we’re getting very good feedback at the moment from travel agents in terms of bookings for 2013.”Katie Rodopoulos – product manager for Tempo Holidays, a subsidiary brand of Cox & Kings – says that while the islands remain the primary destination for Australians, all her passengers spend two or three nights in Athens at the top and tail of the holiday.While the media talks up ferry and public transport strikes in the capital, Ms Rodopoulos says for Tempo and its passengers, such events had rarely been a problem.“It does happen from time to time but the beauty of booking through a reputable travel company is that we are forewarned if there is going to be a strike, so passenger arrangements are changed on the ground by our service provider with very minimal disruption to your holiday.“Last year we had two ferry strikes in season and we had two weeks notice, and it had minimal disruption for our customers.” With the 2013 season beckoning, to use a well-worn phrase, there isn’t a better time to make that booking, says Tempo’s product manager.“Hoteliers have brought prices down and are doing special deals, our advice is to get in early.”last_img