Local tourist business is waiting for 20-percentage growth of holidaymakers from Russia.
According to the analytical service of the Association of Russian Tour Operators (ATOR), which examined the requests of Russian users for tours to various countries in April 2017, the top three included Turkey, Cyprus and Greece. Of the more than six million requests in Yandex, the majority concerned Turkey - the number of requests for April compared to the previous month increased by 8,5%, and by the previous year - by 1238%. The share of Cyprus increased compared to the previous year by 7,3%, and Greece - by 27,4%. Apparently, interest in Greece will continue to grow - the government decided to support the development of tourism on the northern and eastern islands of the Aegean Sea.
Earlier, General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece on international economic relations, Yergos Tsipras, said that the preferential tax rates for these territories should be preserved. This will allow hotels in the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kos not to increase the cost of accommodation. And Deputy Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism of Greece Elena Kundura reported that assistance in promoting foreign markets is one of the strategic priorities of the department for this season. According to ATOR, the number of foreign guests on the island of Kos this year has increased, including at the expense of Russians - by the beginning of the season the airline S7 Airlines opened direct scheduled flights from Moscow to this island.
But in order to attract more tourists and lure them from other "beach" destinations, the Greek government decided to bet not just on rest by the formula "sea-sun-beach", but to find in each region its "zest". In particular, Kosa is counting on Orthodox pilgrims from Russia.
The Metropolitan of the islands of Kos and Nisyros Nathaniel told Izvestia that he compiled a detailed map of the churches of this locality (about 400, of which large ones are 50) and hopes that this peculiar guide in Russian will attract additional tourists from Russia.
- I do not like the name "pilgrim tourism", there is something commercial about this. Although there were always people who went to different churches and monasteries, Metropolitan Nathaniel told Izvestia. - It was my duty to make a list of all the churches of the island, this work took three years. But if earlier the pilgrimage developed on its own, now it is necessary to help the Greek islands develop tourism. And I do not mind if the travel agencies, the Ministry of Tourism will develop this direction. It's just that the Church as an institution does this wrong.
President of the Association of hoteliers of the island of Kos Constantine Svinu says that in comparison with the 2015 year in 2016, the number of Russian tourists has grown by 10%, and this season they expect further growth.
- We forecast 20-percentage growth compared to 2015 year. Then the problems were not because of the refugees - they did not frighten tourists, but because large Russian travel agencies were ruined. Now in Russia the situation has stabilized, and we are very much looking forward to your travelers, "Konstantin Svinu told Izvestiya. - Guests from different countries have their own preferences. Of course, most of the (and Russians, Germans, and British) are interested in beach holidays. But besides this, the Germans prefer history, and the Russians prefer sea walks and pilgrim tourism. And we want to offer them two new products. Speech, in the first place, about pilgrim tourism. And we expect to attract future doctors, graduates of medical universities. They could take the oath of Hippocrates on Kos - the birthplace of the famous physician, right on the ruins of Asklepion - an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the god of medicine.
Now on Kos, the oath of Hippocrates in a solemn atmosphere, in antique attire and using the elements of the show is given not only by Greek graduates of medical universities, but also by representatives of other European universities. Russians are not among them yet.