Study: Crete remains safe and balances Scandinavians with other nationalities

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Study: Crete remains safe and balances Scandinavians with other nationalitiesThe exotic beach of Balos in Crete

The characteristics of tourists coming to Chania was the key finding of a survey by the Business Economics & Management Faculty of MAICh (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania) and the Technical University of Chania, presented on Monday evening.

According to the survey, tourists coming to Chania have more money than average, are more educated than average, they are householders and -despite all inclusive services- they spend money for shopping or eating.

Most of them choose a hotel in Platanias and Agia Marina to stay.

Also, on top of arrivals are the Scandinavians, while Germans seem to have an upward trend.

The survey was conducted in Chania Airport, from May to October 2015, with 4,000 questionnaires.

Priority to safety 

Security is one of the main reasons that tourists opting for holidays in Chania and generally Crete, according to the survey.

The question of safety was first raised in this year's survey and received 75% positive responses, highlighting security as a key criterion for the selection of the destination.

Natural beauty and climate, as expected, plays principal role on the choice of destination, with 97%.

Local cuisine with 79% and value for money with 77% are the other main reasons for choosing Chania and Western Crete, according to the survey.

Archaeological sites follow with 39% and only 21% of tourists mention fun among other reasons for choosing the area.

Very high satisfaction for services

Satisfaction for the service level (behavior of people, restaurants / taverns, cafes, transportation, airport) was very high reaching 95%.

For all these reasons, 93% of visitors stated their desire to come back to West Crete for vacations.

Complaints are the same as in previous years: roads, marking and cleaning streets, beaches and squares. "The results of our research are filled with optimism. We have a visitor profile that is enviable. Where we lag behind, for another year, is infrastructure, but it seems that if we try, we can turn the city of Chania into a worldwide destination, just as it deserves," said the president of the Hotel Association, Manolis Giannoulis, commenting on the survey's results.

Other interesting findings of the survey

** For the first time non-Scandinavian tourists tend to outnumber Scandinavians, who have dominated Western Crete tourism for years. With continuous growth in the last 5 years by 176% overall, non-Scandinavians had this year share a 48.7% share  of total arrivals, compared with 51.3% of the Scandinavians. What causes this shift in balance?

According  to MAICh director George Baourakis,"low-cost airlines have given a tremendous boost to tourism in Chania, mainly in relation to to non-citizens of Nordic countries" .

University of Crete Assistant Professor George Atsalakis noted: "In recent years, we have lost 23 % from the Eurozone traffic but offset arrivals from other countries such as Russia, Israel and Poland. We also see that China enters the market very strongly."

Of non-Scandinavians, 91% comes in Chania with Ryanair. Germans showed an increase by 26% this year. Swedes, however, still rank first regarding origin of nationality (156,000 visitors), constituting 16.6% of total arrivals, followed by Norwegians with 15.6%, Danes with 12.8%, Brits with 11.2% and Germans with 7.9%

Western Crete tourists profile:

** The majority are aged between 25 - 54 years. Most have revisited the area. They have high education and income, since three out of four are universities and colleges graduates and six out of ten declare annual income exceeding 45,000 euros. spending During the nine days that they staying on average in Western Crete they spend 390 euros per capita, excluding expenditure on air tickets and accommodation costs.

** The majority of tourists (60%) are public and private employees. More than half of them (55%) reside in Platanias and Agia Marina areas, 66% choose hotels (74% of them 3 and 4 stars) 26% apartments and studios and 30% choose package inclusive all. Most of their bookings (72%) are made through a travel agent and on line.

Value for money

** The majority considers prices from normal to cheap compared to other European destinations and the price / quality of the offered services and products is judged as better.

** Many tourists (52%) use buses for their movements, while 49.5% also hire cars and 34,5% use taxis for the various tours.

** Their interest in local products focuses on local wine by 54%, olive oil by 49.3% and fresh orange juice by 47.5%. At nights, they frequent their favourite taverns and cafes, and only a few spend money on clubbing.

Popular destinations

** The most popular destination for tourists in Western Crete is Elafonisi followed by Museums, Balos, Falasarna, Samaria Gorge, Sougia and the area of Aptera. The most popular destinations, outside Chania, are Knossos and Phaistos in Heraklion.

The survey concludes by noting that coastal tourism and seasonality are the dominant features of the market in Western Crete. The growth of value added in the sector is yet to be achieved and combined with coastal erosion and climate change directly threaten this "model".  The enrichment of tourism services, differentiation and individualization of "product" are the only way now for the region to advance.

READ MORE HERE: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

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