The last two years have been very difficult for the tourism industry, and now, with the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the cost of living, conditions are still far from ideal.
However, resorts across the Mediterranean region are preparing for what they hope will be a bumper season. Among them is the greek island of Santorini, which at its peak can accommodate around 50,000 visitors at a time in its more than 400 hotels.
Weddings and cruises – Is tourism rebounding in Santorini?
For hotel owner Markos Chaidemenos, the 2022 season has already started well, even exceeding expectations.
“At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a lot of reservations have been canceled. Yet now, and it makes me sad to admit it, tourists seem to have forgotten about the war. As for our island, we have never had many Russian or Ukrainian tourists.”
As well as being popular among Greeks, Santorini has many American, British and French tourists. Cruise ships are also back in force and the island is looking for new markets to increase its number of visitors.
Local business owners are starting to see an increasing number of visitors from China and Japan, often with marriage in mind. Such is the case of Zhourun Ge, a Japanese tourist who, after his first visit, decided that Santorini was the perfect place for his impending nuptials.
The key to the economy of the island
Tourism is the island’s only significant industry. But the sector is not only important for corporate hotel chains and luxury hotels. There are still many families in Santorini who live off the area.
Christos Markozanis owns a tavern which he runs with the help of his two sons, his niece and his wife. He says the season has started well, but he is still worried about the effects of the soaring cost of living.
“A product last week, a wine that I bought 8 euros, today I have to pay 10 and next week I will pay 12 or 14 euros. How am I supposed to live?
Now there is the high energy costI hope that action will be taken by the government and by the European Union.” He fears that if electricity bills remain high, many small businesses will close.
Despite international and domestic challenges, Greek tourism is gearing up for another strong season as sun, sea and ancient history continue to attract foreign visitors.
Find out more about Santorini’s tourism sector in the video above.