Bookings to date give cause for optimism for upcoming tourist season
CORFU. International arrivals at Corfu Airport begin on 26 March.
Bookings to date for the 2023 tourist season in Corfu give cause for optimism and the indications are that, all going well, it will be another good year.
Tourist professionals say that there has been early interest - almost since the end of the 2022 season, when there were 1.7m visitors to the island compared to 1.5m in 2018, which had been the best year.
According to Corfu Hoteliers Association President Babis Voulgaris, compared to the same period last year there has been a small increase in the number of bookings. "The first indications are good and there was good business over the festive season," said Mr. Voulgaris. "February, however, is the crucial month."
He said that there is good interest from the UK, France and Poland whereas the interest from Germany, the island's second biggest market, is lagging due to the current economic situation in the country.
The same is also true for rented accommodation. "Although it is still early, there is a lot of interest, we are getting enquiries and bookings have begun," Corfu Tourist Accommodation Owners Federation President Pericles Katsaros told Enimerosi. "The indications are that 2023 will be a very good year."
According to Babis Voulgaris, most hotels will open from mid-April onwrds during the Easter period, which is so important for Corfu, but there are some who plan to open from the end of March.
First arrivals on 26 March
Corfu Airport is expecting the first international arrivals of the season on 26 March. Corfu Civil Aviation Employees Union President Dimitris Roussos told Enimerosi that the first arrivals will be mainly low cost airlines and the others will follow.
"We can see that there are some new destinations and some others have been withdrawn, some companies are increasing the number of flights whereas others are reducing them," Mr. Roussos said. "We hope that we will have as good a season as in 2022."
From this year there will also be direct flights between Corfu and Dubai with with two flights a week (Saturday and Wednesday) operated by Flydubai from 24 June.
Extension of the tourist season
Regarding the issue of extending the tourist season there still seems to be a long way to go despite the coordinated efforts of tourist businesses and the island's sports, cultural and other organisations to make Corfu a destination all year long with alternative and thematic tourism. "It's a process that will take a long time as there is a lot that needs to be in place," said Babis Voulgaris. "We are working on a calendar of events and a website to promote them."
According to Dimitris Roussos, there is no indication for this year at least that the season will be extended. He said that 99.5% of flights stop at the end of October with another four or five flights in the first week of November.