Absence of Russian visitors noticeable in Corfu
CORFU. In hotels and catering establishments the absence has been covered by visitors from other countries.
The business communtiy in Corfu has been feeling the absence of Russian visitors even though they comprised just 3.5% of the total number of arrivals.
Representatives from the hospitality sector, however, say that this absence is being more than covered by the significant increase in visitors from other markets.
Drop in turnover
Shops and services that normally benefit from the Russian market have already seen a drop in turnover - such as fur shops, jewelers and yacht rentals, which have all seen a drop in income.
Although the tourist season is going extremely well in Corfu, traders are seeing less buying than in previous years. "The absence of Russians hasn't been covered by visitors from other countries," the President of the Ionian Trade and Enterprise Federation Kostas Mouzakitis told Enimerosi.
"There has been an average decrease of around 15%," he said. "In some shops it may be even greater - in some cases even 40-50%. Nealy all the fur shops outside Corfu Town are closed. Jewelry shops have seen a 15-29% drop in turnover. Services such as yacht rentals, massage, spa and expensive restaurants have also been affected."
The largest percentage of tourists in Corfu are mainly from the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy. However, Corfu Trade Association President Yiannis Alegris says that these are countries which are also facing economic and energy crises.
"Due to the general situation in Europe, spending here is lower and more limited than in previous years," he said. "The same will, unfortunately, also apply to the Greeks who will be coming here soon for a few days holiday with their families. Those who manage to have a holiday will be spending on absolute necessities and most of their money will be going on fuel, tickets and supermarkets."
Mr. Allegris also expressed doubts as to whether tourist income will be able to make up for the damage to the market over the last two years, even though arrivals are much higher. "There is no purchasing power in the retail market at the moment - consumption is limited and the market is suffering."
On the other hand, the absence of Russian visitors may be noticeable to a small extent in some 5-star hotels, but has been more than covered by visitors from other countries as Corfu Hoteliers Association President Babis Voulgaris told Enimerosi. "The other markets are very strong this year and so they have more than made up for the absence of the Russians," he said. "We can see plenty of demand in Corfu over the next few months.
"The fact that a lot of hotels have opened in Corfu offering higher quality service and a lot of 5-star hotels have opened means that we have been able to attract more high spenders from other countries such as Switzerland the USA."
The catering sector is also happy with how things are going and the General Secretary of Corfu Catering Union Nikos Latsas said, "The Russian market is absent but this has been covered by all the European markets."