Παρασκευή 12.04.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

World Travel Market - positive indications for Corfu tourist season next year

tourism
09 Nov 2023 / 14:22

CORFU. Jet2 extending tourist season. New routes from 2024, including Liverpool. Bookings for 2024 are on an upward trajectory. Strong criticism of the Corfu booth.

Encouraging messages are coming from the world's largest tourism exhibition, the World Travel Market in London, with regard to the new tourism season in Corfu.

The curtain fell on this year's event yesterday in the UK capital, with a particularly positive assessment for our island, as Enimerosi was told by local tourism stakeholders attending the first major exhibition - held every year at the end of the season and in a country from which Corfu receives the overwhelming majority of its visitors.

Positive developments include the extension of the tourist season by the airline Jet2, which will start its flight programme three and a half weeks earlier, beginning on March 29, 2024, and ending at the end of October.

The first flights will start from London and Manchester, while Birmingham will be added from April 1. Jet2, which operates flights from the UK from nine locations, will also be adding Liverpool, to its flight programme for 2024, with flights beginning on May 3.

"The messages from the largest and most significant tourism exhibition, WTM, for the upcoming tourist season are positive," Spyros Halikiopoulos, President of the Association of Corfu Travel Agents told Enimerosi. "We had several contacts as tourism professionals with tour operators from several countries, with airlines, and with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Positive news for our island includes the extension of the tourist season by Jet2."

He noted that Corfu generally has high demand as a tourist destination; however, this does not mean that there should be complacency. On the contrary, there is a need to reorganise and plan, starting with the infrastructure of our island.

 

Increase in bookings

There is an increase in bookings, following the overall trend in Greece. This is attributed to the fact that the British prefer to book their holidays early to secure better prices with early bookings. Additionally, the dramatic events in Israel serve as a deterrent for Europeans to plan trips to Turkey and Egypt, redirecting bookings to our country.

"Bookings are increasing compared to last year," said Babis Voulgaris, President of the Corfu Hoteliers Association, from London. "Of course, there is some concern about the war in the Middle East and how it will unfold. However, Greece and Corfu continue to be considered strong and stable brands,"

 

Local authority contacts

The Mayor of Central Corfu, Meropi Ydraiou, and the Deputy Mayor of Tourism, Panayiotis Varouchas held successive meetings with various tourism entities, such as the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), representatives of Jet2 holidays, Aegean Airlines, as well as with various individual and specialised agents in alternative forms of tourism, mainly focusing on the timing of the tourist season.

From WTM 2023, the Mayor said that the initial indications for the next tourist season are positive. "Corfu's presence and dynamism at the London tourism exhibition are the result of a collective effort. The goal of participating in such exhibitions, like this major tourism exhibition in London, is to convey the most positive message about Corfu as a tourist destination."

The Ionian Islands Region was represented by Regional Governor Rodi Kratsa, accompanied by administrative officials and Deputy Regional Governor for Zakynthos, Katerina Mothonaiou, with the aim of strengthening and developing the tourism image and identity of the Ionian Islands in the international market. The Ionian Islands Region was honoured at the Greek Travel Awards 2023 event, held on Wednesday afternoon at Six Park Place in London, under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) UK and Ireland office.

Strong criticism of the Corfu booth

Meanwhile, the Corfu booth has come in for heavy criticism from the island's tourism stakeholders, contrasting it with the presence of Rhodes at the exhibition, with its own separate booth of 50 square meters and rich material for visitors.

"On the negative side, I should mention the Corfu booth," said Mr. Halikiopoulos. "A completely plain and indifferent space, without any elements representing Corfu. It was also not functional at all, as in the Ionian Islands Region area, there were two small tables with chairs for all the Ionian Islands. Most of our scheduled meetings with our partners were taking place outside our booth. Corfu should step forward from January 1, 2024, and become a pioneer rather than following other tourist destinations in Greece."

He added that these are issues that need to be discussed soon, and through proper planning and programming, a new beginning should be made with an impressive presence at the ITB Exhibition, which takes place in Berlin in March.

"It is very important to engage and invest in the branding of Corfu and, at the same time, in our proper and dignified presence at major tourism exhibitions and beyond," he concluded.

 

MARIA BAZDRIYIANNI

Photo: Panos Varouchas