Annual research on the profile of a statistical tourist visiting West Crete provides a large dose of interesting knowledge about people coming to this part of the island. These studies are carried out to assess tourist traffic and take a closer look at emerging trends and possible changes in tourist behavior. In the study conducted in 2022, the results obtained were compared with the last pre-pandemic season, i.e. 2019.
The research is carried out by the Western Crete Tourism Observatory and coordinated by the Department of Economics and Management of the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute in Chania and in collaboration with the Technical University of Crete. The observatory has been operating for over a decade on the initiative of the Chania Hoteliers' Union. The latest study analyzed the arrivals and behavior of foreign tourists, with data provided by the Civil Aviation Service and Fraport-Greece, which manages Chania Airport.
As for the total number of tourists who arrived at Chania Airport between January and November 2022, a record 1.3 million people were recorded, which means that compared to 2019 there was a 13% increase . Analyzing this data in more detail, it can be seen that the largest increases were recorded for tourists from Germany (+68%), Great Britain (+30%), Poland (+20%) and Denmark (+17%). More Italians and French flew to Crete as well.
In return, fewer tourists came from Austria (-23%), Cyprus, Belgium and the Netherlands (both -14%). However, the most significant decreases were recorded for tourists from Norway (-30%) and Sweden (-21%). Overall, there was an over 10% decrease in the number of Scandinavian tourists , who in 2013-2019 accounted for half of all tourists visiting West Crete. This year Scandinavians accounted for 37% of all tourists.
A separate group that did not come on holiday to Crete in 2022 are the Russians. In previous seasons, in terms of the number of arrivals, they were ranked 4th, reaching the level of 270,000. arrivals in 2019. The introduction of the sanctions virtually wiped out the number of Russian arrivals . However, while initially it was feared that the gap left by these tourists would not be "developed", in the end it turned out that the losses of Russian arrivals were compensated by a greater number of tourists from Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria and Poland.
The first place was taken by the British (19%), followed by the Danes (13%) and the Germans (12%). Swedes (9%) and Norwegians (9%), who ranked first in 2019, dropped to fifth and sixth respectively last year. Interestingly , last year Poles also constituted a 9% part of this tourist "cake" . The presence of our compatriots in Western Crete began to increase from 2017. At the moment, they are one of the most important nationalities visiting the western part of the island. Who took the next places when it comes to the total number of all arrivals to Chania? They were Italians (4%), French (3%) and Belgians (3%).
Compared to the years before the "epoch" of the coronavirus, last year the percentage of foreign tourists visiting this part of Crete for the first time increased. Today , they account for more than half of all visitors . Does this mean that Crete has attracted new tourists? Unfortunately, not entirely, because the recorded increase is mainly due to Norwegian and Swedish tourists, who resigned from visiting Crete this year, which changed the statistical proportions. Scandinavians are supposedly known for often choosing places they have already visited for their holidays. Regular visitors, giving up holidays in Western Crete, gave the field to novices.
And now we are slowly coming to the heart of the research, i.e. the statistical profile of a tourist visiting Western Crete.
Almost 7 out of 10 tourists are full-time employees, of whom almost 3/4 are employed in services. In 2022, the number of tourists aged 35-64 increased to 55% . In 2020 and 2021, there were much fewer tourists, and mostly younger people came to Western Crete. Last year, the number of slightly older and mature tourists has already returned to the level recorded before the pandemic.
The marital status of foreign guests was also taken into consideration. Six out of ten tourists declare that they are married , and one in three is single.
The level of education of foreign tourists visiting Crete is very high. As many as 75% of guests are university graduates, and their average income ranges from PLN 70,000 to PLN 80,000. euro . Such a high average level of income is due to the fact that many citizens of Great Britain and Germany come to the island, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia, i.e. countries with a high income profile.
As noted by the researchers analyzing the research results, this year there was an over 15% increase in the average expenses incurred during the trip compared to 2019. These expenses do not include the cost of tickets and accommodation. Whereas guests from the USA, Canada and Australia spend more money on travelling, while Scandinavian guests, from Central and Eastern Europe and Great Britain spend more money on food consumption.
When analyzing the data on the choice of accommodation options, a new trend was noticed compared to the 2019 data. Last year, tourists were more likely to choose accommodation in Chania, but the area of Kissamos was equally popular.
The most significant is the significant decrease in the percentage of visitors who chose the "all inclusive" formula . However, the number of foreign tourists who took advantage of short-term rentals such as Air BnB for their holidays has increased. As many as 15% of visitors to West Crete last year decided on this form of accommodation. Representatives of the hotel industry do not hide that the change in the preferences of selected accommodation is a big blow for them. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that for many years West Crete has been chosen more often by people organizing their own holidays and looking for a different formula of staying on the island than the one offered by travel agencies.
In terms of percentage, hotels still remain at the forefront of tourists' preferences , as more than half of them choose such accommodation. In addition, 2/3 of this group decide on 4- and 5-star hotels. Despite this variety of accommodation, as many as 90% of visitors declared that they were very satisfied with the services of the accommodation facilities.
Another confirmation that Crete is increasingly becoming a place for independent tourists is the big difference that has been noted in the way of booking accommodation and organizing leisure. As many as 6 out of 10 foreign tourists in 2022 organized their stay in this part of the island on their own , without using the services of a travel agency or various types of intermediaries.
In 2022, the average duration of holidays spent in Crete was 9 days, which is one day longer compared to 2019. An interesting trend is also the reduction in the number of family holidays with children. More than half of the foreign visitors flew to the island with their spouse alone.
Foreign tourists often decide to rent a car and explore the island. Last year, a car was rented for an average of 7 days . It is worth noting, however, that most of the landlords came from the USA/Canada, Australia and Central Europe or Great Britain and Ireland. Local transport was used more often by tourists from Eastern Europe , which is associated with a low income profile, as well as a significant increase in car rental prices in Crete. Recall that from 2021, prices for renting a car for holidays on the island have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Visitors from countries with a high income profile also often chose to use taxis.
Locations mainly chosen by visitors are not surprising. The most popular beaches are Elafonisi, Balos and Falasarna . Interestingly, most of the visitors to these beaches also see the need to introduce sustainable management of the above places. Overloading is noticeable with the naked eye, and these beaches, despite their beauty and uniqueness, are lost under the onslaught of crowds.
An equally significant number of tourists also visit monasteries, museums and archaeological sites . The latter category is clearly dominated by the Minoan palace in Knossos. It is also worth noting that every fourth tourist visits only places that are located close to the place of accommodation.
Fortunately, visiting the island by car is not the only form of activity chosen by foreign guests. Almost everyone also indicates swimming as their favorite form of activity and spending time. Four out of ten tourists also chose boat trips and hiking . Guests also often take advantage of diving opportunities in the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 20% of visitors to Crete were interested in visiting a local agritourism company, 10-15% visiting caves, of which there are plenty on the island. Some people also took part in pottery workshops or lessons in cooking local dishes, climbing, cycling and horse riding, fishing or jeep safaris.
Almost all foreign tourists declare that they were very pleased with their visit to this region of Crete. Nine out of ten foreign tourists would not only like to visit West Crete again, but would also unreservedly recommend it to relatives and friends, which only underlines the attractiveness of this place. In addition, almost half of foreign visitors declare that they would also visit the region in the winter season if there was a direct connection to the city where they live. Such a high score proves that Crete really has a lot of potential also in the winter season.
The main reason why tourists visit West Crete are primarily beaches (68%). This is rather not surprising, because in this area there are the most famous and beautiful beaches such as Balos, Elafonissi or the recently increasingly popular Falasarna. For years, these have been tourist hits and most people want to see these places with their own eyes. However, apart from these three beaches, West Crete can also boast many others that are not lacking in beauty.
In addition to the beaches, the quality of accommodation (46%), opportunities for recreation and relaxation (43%), the beauty of the landscape and the countryside (40%) are also important. The local cuisine (37%) and the kindness and hospitality of the inhabitants (32%) are also appreciated.
Foreign guests also appreciate local products. Among those that are most often hosted in their baskets, there is consistently excellent quality Cretan olive oil. In addition to it, tourists willingly reach for local wines, honeys and cheeses. They are also happy to buy local fruits and vegetables, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice. The local herbs and spices are very popular. Their aroma, even many months after the end of the holiday, resembles the local flavors of Crete. Tourists are also increasingly reaching for local alcohols, i.e. raki/tsikoudia.
Visitors are very satisfied with the cleanliness of the beaches and bathing areas, as well as the beach infrastructure. It cannot be otherwise since in Crete every year about 120 beaches receive the prestigious Blue Flag award. Receiving it means that the beaches meet a number of requirements regarding water quality, safety, organization and care for the protection of the natural environment.
Tourists also appreciate the high level of security on the island (90%). Nearly 80% are satisfied with cultural attractions, monuments and the availability of auxiliary services (e.g. access to ATMs, etc.).
Of course, it is not that tourists do not see the weak points of West Crete. This is valuable information that clearly shows what local authorities can improve, so that the guests' heads will have only good memories related to holidays on the island.
Although tourists still do not assess the condition of roads and markings very well, last year there were fewer complaints about road infrastructure compared to previous years. The collection of waste and the widespread use of plastics were criticized in particular .
The frequency of the buses and their punctuality gathered heavy blows. In Chania, heavy traffic and a widespread lack of parking spaces were cited as one of the main problems. Last year, there was a big problem with car rental in Crete, especially those from the cheapest categories. This fact was noticed by tourists, who emphasized it particularly strongly in their answers to surveys. The availability of taxis was also rated worse.
Negative opinions also concerned abandoned buildings in Chania, homeless people and the phenomenon of begging, especially in parts of the Old Town and in tourist areas in general.
Byłam z dziećmi tydzień w czerwcu. Ponieważ to był nasz 2 wspólny pobyt na wyspie, ale mój 5, to Elounda z widokiem (i rejsem) na Spinalongę. Auto na 2 dni. Biuro podróży, hotel ze śniadaniami i kolacjami.
W zeszlym roku 3x, w sumie 28 dni. Małe apartamenty w kilku miejscach wyspy. Raz tez nocka w samochodzie
Od Chanii po Kissamos, Balos I Falasarne po Paleochore i Sougie
5 miesięcy , zjeździliśmy własnym domem na 4 kółkach . Kreta jest cudowna
Od Balos po Vai w 6 lat i wciąż mnie zaskakuje
Skąd te dane? Nas nikt nie pytał o wykształcenie czy o cokolwiek.
Michał Stankiewicz W artykule jest informacja o tym kto przeprowadzał badania. Oczywiste jest że w badaniach nie biorą udziału wszyscy przyjeżdżający.
Byłam jest cudownie jak większość twierdzę że jeden raz to za mało ale warto chodź nie próżnowałam w zwiedzaniu
Na lotnisku w Chanii są przeprowadzane ankiety z pewną ilością pasażerów i te dane są na ich podstawie. Raz byliśmy proszeni o wzięcie udziału - na kilkadziesiąt startów i lądowań.
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