May is usually the month when the presence of tourists on the island becomes more and more noticeable. How was it this year?
Analyzing the numbers since the beginning of this year, it turns out that 615,585 tourists flew to Heraklion in the first five months of the year. If we take a closer look at the data from May, compared to the same period last year, the number of charter flights to Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in Heraklion increased by 8-9%. This corresponds to an increase in tourists of approximately 17-18 thousand.
This year, in May, over 395,000 foreign guests landed in Heraklion, while last year there were 383,000. Interestingly, however, this increase is not felt by the owners of shops with local products and souvenirs, because, as they claim, the greater number of guests did not translate into an increase in their turnover . Shopkeepers say that tourists are invisible, and the few who enter the shops very often leave empty-handed.
It can be assumed that one explanation may be unstable weather. This year's May in Crete was included as the coldest in 14 years. Certainly, the cold and capricious weather was not conducive to traveling around the island or exploring the corners. Some people, due to the bad weather, simply chose to spend time on the premises of the hotel or in its vicinity.
The second explanation may be the prices of staying on the island. The cost of staying on the island has increased by an average of around 40% this year. Despite the skyrocketing prices for tourist packages, some guests did not give up going to Crete, but probably significantly reduced their expenses made directly on the spot.
Interesting data is also provided by the owners of hotels and boarding houses. They show that despite the increase in the number of tourists who landed in Crete in May, hotel occupancy in May was lower than expected. Probably some people could cancel their reservations due to high prices, but there is another explanation for this phenomenon. There are more hotels in Crete every year, so the number of available hotel beds on the island is constantly increasing. An additional competition for the current accommodation base is the constantly growing Airbnb short-term rental market.
Currently, the tourism industry in Crete is also concerned about economic data coming from Germany. The German market is the main player on the tourist map of Crete. In 2022, as much as 18.5% of total revenues from tourism came from the German market. Every year Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from this country. However, the recession in which the German economy has now found itself has caused a significant drop in holiday bookings, estimated at 700,000. seats.
Also in the case of France, bookings fell by 8.5%. Rising inflation makes you rethink your holiday choices. As many as 58% of the French admit that they do not have the financial means to go on holiday and are waiting for last-minute offers with a decision
Better news, however, concerns bookings coming from the Israeli (+63%), Polish and Spanish (both +27%) and Irish (+33%) markets. Time will tell, however, whether the increases in bookings from these countries will compensate for the shortages of tourists from Germany or France.