"We estimate that Rhodes will have a 10% increase of arrivals this year in Rhodes, whilst in terms of foreign exchange there will be a smaller increase," says the president of the Rhodes Hotel Association Mr. Minaidis.
He continues to state that; ‘we do not expect problems to be caused to our tourism industry by the events in Libya.’
Mr. Minaidis answers 20 questions about the latest developments in Rhodian tourism.
How the 2011 season started in Rhodes and other islands?
Many hotels have started operating in the first ten days of April and by May all will have opened. The same is expected in Kos which has the same market source as Rhodes.
Will it be better than last year?
We believe we have an increase of 10% on average from all markets.
Is the outlook as optimistic as described?
It's based on the early booking reservations by the feedback from the ITB exhibition; which is traditionally the barometer of international tourism.
How was the promotion of tourism abroad?
Rhodes had a strong presence in international tourism markets, and participated in exhibitions and special events successfully organized by PROTOUR -The Organization for Rhodian Tourism Promotion.
Will the events in Libya and in North Africa affect the tourist flow to Greece?
There was an initial numbness to the market in the early days, but since then, bookings have increased and we do not expect any problems caused by the Libyan problem to the affect us.
Will the tourist arrivals prosper while the foreign exchange will reduce again?
Despite the fact that hotel prices remain the same, the foreign exchange this year will show a small increase, due to an early increase in demand of hotel beds, which will naturally reduce the extra special offers.
What’s the status concerning hotel pricing this year?
During the last few years the hotels maintained the same prices in order to be competitive against the international environment.
Will the out of hotel costs (restaurants, supermarket, taxi, excursions etc) affect the arrivals?
I would say that it has little effect, since the cost of the holiday package is the foremost concern.
In terms of arrivals, which markets will be in the top 5?
Quantitatively, the British market, followed by the Germans, Scandinavians, Russian, and French. The Israelis have shown an impressive growth, and we believe the Russian market will double its numbers in 2011 as opposed to 2010.
The top 5, concerning “new tourist markets"?
New markets, mainly due to their volume, can be considered Russia, France, Spain, Israel and the Eastern European countries.
Finally, did we find a solution to the visa?
For the Russian market, things have improved considerably. We hope to make similar arrangements with Turkey, from which Rhodes, due to proximity expects many benefits.
It seems that the indications for marine tourism are also positive ...
Rhodes receives over 700,000 visitors per year from cruise ships and it ranks second in Greece after Piraeus port. We have to utilize this advantage and get organized even more in this form of tourism.
Will the liberalising of cabotage assist on increasing the arrivals?
If Rhodes Harbour establishes itself as a departure port, this will definitely help, but we have yet to provide the cruise companies with the necessary incentives whilst ensuring the necessary onshore infrastructure is sufficient.
Do we have the proper infrastructure for more cruise ships approaches?
The port is sufficient, but we have a problem in land infrastructure and we have to speed up the construction.
This year the outlook for domestic tourism doesn’t seem so good...
The financial crisis will certainly affect domestic tourism.
Is the blame just on the economic crisis?
The economic crisis often leads the Greeks to cheap destinations abroad.
Maybe the airplane fare is too expensive?
The increased fare cost creates an expensive package for Rhodes compared to other mainland destinations to which the access by car is much cheaper.
Will the hoteliers make a special offer for Greek tourists?
Just as every year, this year we will announce special rates for early Greek visitors to Rhodes.
This year Rhodes lost school tourism ...
Not lost, just reduced, simply because the students "discovered" other destinations, not only in Greece but also abroad with even cheaper airplane costs.
There are responsibilities?
* Interview with George Zachariadis , Rodiaki Newspaper 8/4/2011