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Athens gaining ground as winter destination

Tourist flows to the Greek capital are on the rise with professionals saying this is the best December performance in a long time demonstrated by increased demand for rooms and high passenger traffic at Athens International Airport (AIA).

Indicatively, total passenger traffic for the December 1-20 period grew by 15 percent. At the same time, there appears to be high demand for rooms at Athens’ luxury hotels.

Managing Director of Hotel Grande Bretagne and Hotel King George, Tim Ananiadis, told Euro2day that bookings at the two award-winning hotels have risen this month by 15 percent compared to last year, bringing 2016 to a healthy close for both five-star units.

Ananiadis went on to attribute the increase to demand by travelers from the US and the UAE as many decided to travel to Athens instead of other European cities following the terror strikes.

Both hotels reported high booking figures for the July-September period, Ananiadis said, adding that it was in great part due to cruise travelers who opted to book accommodation in Athens on their own outside cruise company suggestions.

Alexandros Vassilikos, president of the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association backs Ananiadis’ claims of boosted December performance, adding that many Cypriot travelers also chose to visit the Greek capital this year. The number of holidaymakers from Cyprus had dropped by as much as 60 percent in the previous years, according to hotel industry professionals.

Meanwhile, the fact that many leading Athens hotels are offering discounts by as much as 47 percent in efforts to attract customers during the holiday season can also account for the welcome growth.