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Encouraging messages for the 2022-2023 tourist season for Crete

Positive and encouraging messages from the flows of tourists received by those involved in the tourism industry in Crete from this year’s tourist season. This results in starting the discussion on the preparation and prospects for the 2023 tourist season.

Although the end of the season is still late, as industry representatives point out in APE-MPE it is not expected to end before the end of November or beginning of December, the data of this summer and tourist traffic, find all the factors on alert and always in collaboration with the regional and local government, they are preparing the next step. The dominant data for this vigilance concerns the interest shown by the tour operators, but also the data from the exhibitions and international forums where Crete participates, which strengthen the prospects and optimism of those preparing for the next tourist year .

According to the APE-MPE involved with the tourism product in Crete, hoteliers and tourism agents are constantly informed about the data from leading executives of international tourism agencies, regarding the prospects, which are either opening, or appearing and related to the tourist markets of Crete Scandinavia, and the entire European continent. Crete as a tourist destination has aroused interest and its popularity has not weakened, despite the prolonged period of the pandemic which kept the tourist market in quarantine with enormous restrictions. Even on the American continent, according to EOT data, Crete maintains high positions with its ranking in the 8th place in the “Best Island in Europe” category, during the FX Express American Tourism Awards 2022, which reinforces the view and the efforts in Crete of the experts, to extend the tourist season up to the whole year.

The regional governor of Crete, Stavros Arnautakis, constantly mentions that “tourism is the springboard for the great leap forward” and the focus on planning in Crete concerns not only the extension of the tourist season, but also the new forms of tourism, the new markets, which, however, need both public infrastructure and, according to Mr. Arnautakis, the attraction of investments related to quality tourism.

In Rethymno but also in the whole of Crete, the forecasts that existed, as Pepi Birliraki, responsible for Tourism in the municipality of Rethymno, reports to APE-MBE: “… since the beginning of the season they have been verified. In Rethymno, although there was a subtle decline at the beginning May, despite this, it was one of the destinations, our prefecture, which had almost no “brake” in this big wave this year, of visitors from all over the world.

Old tourism hoteliers and members of associations and bodies assure that in Rethymnon – and this was happening all over Crete as we found – we had visitors and tourists from all over the world. America gave a very strong presence during the summer, from the beginning of the summer France was one of the protagonists, like Germany and England and the Netherlands. All of them, as they have always declared their preference, their love and their faith in Crete and Rethymnon and what we have found is that it continues to this day, with an undiminished arrival of visitors both individual and group as well as for thematic destinations until the middle of November”.

As pointed out in APE-MPE, good preparation brought positive results. Mrs. Birliraki explains by saying: “…we organized from early on – and this is probably the recipe for success – various events, thematic, sports and other events, which the hoteliers embraced us since they themselves have proven that they have takes risks and they do the same today.

It is a risk that they remain open even during the winter season, let alone until the end of November, a month which we try to fill with all kinds of events such as sports, social, cultural, with themed events. It seems that this effort is going well, since at the end of October our hotels will be full with large occupancy and large attendances from special thematic groups coming to Rethymno”.

According to the planning, visitors, tourists, athletes and attendants will arrive in Rethymno, from the Middle East and Qatar to athletes from 50 countries from all over the world in a very large event that has been planned and concerns open sea swimming, the world final of the games, which will be hosted by Rethymno, on the central beach of the city. “This event, which is also directly related to thematic sports tourism, this year leads us from the last week of October until the middle of November to Rethymno being overwhelmed by thousands of visitors, sports missions and escorts, to conclude in the most solemn way this such an amazing year in our tourism”.

For his part, Kyriakos Kotsoglou, deputy regional governor for tourism and e-Government issues, tells APE-MPE: “We have to look at this year with two dimensions. One is the strategic dimension which says, how the destination is doing as a destination and there the news is good.July closed with an increase of 7.8% for Heraklion and a similar slightly smaller one for Chania compared to arrivals.

August, although we don’t have data yet, seems to follow exactly the same logic, while we wait for September to consolidate, which still hasn’t consolidated to 100% occupancies, as we would like. Consequently, if we wanted to characterize the year from its strategic side, the one that characterizes the dynamics of the destination, then we can celebrate, since the year must end in November in mid-December. In other words, to extend the tourist season. And it is something that the “injured” airlines, who have lost a lot in the last two years, also want. Therefore, September October, November and December will give us the opportunity to make a proper fund”.

“The second side that concerns 2022 has to do for better or worse with the functionality of businesses and people and how much they are expected to prosper or struggle. The reality is that we have at this level, a second different picture.

Energy, the increase in raw materials, the difficulty of finding staff, increases in fuel and possibly the increase in borrowing that will come from the increase in interest rates, are five thorns that greatly threaten the tourist farm’s profit from tourism “, says Kyriakos Kotsoglou characteristically, pointing out that this is a book that has just been opened.

“Just as we will fund our revenue and arrivals in relation to 2019 in exactly the same way we will fund our business profitability for 2022. And while we expect to write pages of triumph strategically, we do not expect quite the same at the level of business profitability logic”.

As far as the preparations for 2023 are concerned, Pepi Birlirakis says, “…we have given all our attention to controlling all these uncontrolled situations and problems that can be created by the very large passage of tourists from one place. As the municipality of Rethymno we noticed that every self-respecting tourist destination must curb the anarchic influx of visitors without the corresponding infrastructure in place.We consider that a level of respect for every person is the place itself that invites and respects him.

The data of the increase in tourist traffic in 2022 and in anticipation of even greater traffic and tourist flows for 2023 as announced and informed by the major tour operators have put us on alert so that we do not lose the bet of quality and being among the first selection positions. The sectors of infrastructure, traffic, signage, information, cleanliness and all that is needed to avoid congestion in a place, we should deal with and be ready. At the same time, we are preparing a marketing plan regarding the extroversion of Rethymno, taking part in specific markets, of course the old but especially the new markets.

It is important that we talk to our people, to the businessmen, to the Chamber, trying all together to plan a proper and balanced development and service of tourism, so that we don’t have the bad or the disadvantages so that we manage to provide opportunities for tourists to visit and in the low and middle seasons as it happens in the high season which is fatal and the strongest season in Greece”.

This is the period when a big conversation with the big travel agencies and the operators is coming to an end, Mr. Kostoglou told APE-MBE regarding the increase packages from the hoteliers and how this increase will be possible, the increase in operating costs in the hotels, to be largely amortized by customers.

“The agents will pass on the increases entirely to the client. Today the increases that seem to be circulating are from 8 to 10%, a little less, a little more, but there is a very big question mark. I explain that this year the year was closed by logic, it will travel as if there is no tomorrow, the year 2023 for the European seems to be a year with logic, I will travel as long as I find the money”.

Consequently, there is a battle between the tour operator and the hoteliers, where the hoteliers, as Kyriakos Kotsoglou explained to us, say “…you see that our profits are falling”, while on the other hand the tour operators say “…we see them but make sure to don’t get the raises you want, but we’ll be out of business because we won’t be able to get customers for 2023.”

Crete proved that all the scenarios for normality after the pandemic, which referred to 2024, 2025 and 2026 as they said, have overcome them proving this year that 2022 was in Crete years of normality. “But I don’t know to what extent this is true because when we talked about normality, we meant arrivals. Whereas now normality includes many different parameters. The most basic is the liquidity that will be affected from now on by international situations, the war, the absence of Ukrainians, Russians, but also from the emergence of Americans to every difficulty the average European now has. We don’t know how the market will move for the average European wallet in relation to the holidays. Preparations are currently being made for the 2023 contracts but at the same time that we haven’t had a special conversation about sustainability,” says Kyriakos Kotsoglou.

Regarding the proposal that is being conceived, the Minister for Tourism in Crete told APE MPE “and it is related to an invitation, as mentioned by the Prime Minister and which concerns how foreigners will come to spend the winter in Greece cheaply, I believe that this needs to be discussed, especially since there is no national strategy to keep accommodation open, since there are no incentives, since there are no exact specifications.”

Source: AMPE

Source: Capital

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