Double-digit increase in hotel bookings and airline seats in the South Aegean in 2024

Lindos Rhodes Greek islands hotel

The South Aegean Region has a double-digit increase in hotel bookings and airline seats in 2024.

The "EU Tourism: Resilience in the Era of the Climate Crisis" forum will be held in Rhodes on April 8 and 9, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to attend. The Forum, which will be attended by the ten leading Associations of tourism businesses in Europe, will discuss the effects of Climate Change, which changes traditional business models, affects travellers' preferences and behaviours, complicates investment decisions, and makes it difficult to manage tourist destinations.

The objectives of the Forum were discussed during Wednesday's press conference by the President of HOTREC, Mr. Alexandros Vassilikos, and the Regional Governor of South Aegean, Mr. Georgos Chatzimarkos. HOTREC is the umbrella Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs, cafes, and similar European establishments.

Rhodes Old Town

During the interview, Mr Vassilikos spoke of positive assessments regarding this year's tourist season. However, he noted that tourism operators should prepare for the coming years based on other parameters that now affect tourism activity, such as Climate Change, stressing that the Forum's organisation is a good opportunity for this.

For his part, the Regional Governor emphasised that based on the data so far, a double-digit increase has been recorded for this season in terms of reservations at tourist accommodations and available airline seats at the five South Aegean airports.

agios pavlos beach rhodes

Joint Declaration on climate change and European tourism

The Rhodes Joint Declaration on climate change and European tourism will be finalised and signed at the Forum. With the Declaration, on the one hand, the private sector commits itself to the actions it will undertake. On the other hand, the Declaration calls on the new leadership of the European Union's institutions to formulate the appropriate policies and the necessary financial tools to respond to the challenges of the Climate Crisis. This is the first pan-European meeting at this level, which will take place at the initiative of HOTREC and the South Aegean Region.

The special importance of choosing Rhodes to hold the meeting is highlighted as the island was severely affected last year by devastating fires worsened by the effects of the Climate Crisis. Rhodes is now becoming a point of reference and a starting point for European solutions for the sustainability and resilience of tourist destinations.

Church of the Annunciation, rhodes

The Unions participating in the “EU Tourism: Resilience in the Era of the Climate Crisis” and supporting the Joint Declaration are:

-Airport Council International (ACI EUROPE)

-Airlines for Europe (A4E)

-Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

-European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association (ECTAA)

-European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA)

-European Regions Airline Association (ERA)

-European Association of Hotels, restaurants and cafés (HOTREC)

-The global association for the attractions industry (IAAPA)

-The World Road Transport Organization representing bus, coach, truck and taxi (IRU)

-The European Federation of Rural Tourism (Ruraltour)

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The President of HOTREC, Mr. Alexandros Vasilikos, referring to the Forum, said:

"The Climate Crisis is here, and it is testing us all, particularly tourism. HOTREC took the initiative of this great pan-European meeting, and I want to thank all the representatives of the leading European Unions for their participation in the Forum's work and the signing of the Joint Declaration of Rhodes, with which we express the will for a comprehensive joint European response to the global climate challenge."

The Regional Governor of South Aegean, Mr. Georgos Chatzimarkos, commenting on the event, said:

"It is a great honour for the South Aegean Region to be at the centre of the dialogue on the Climate Crisis and its effects on European tourism. We want our islands to be an example of a sustainable tourist destination, and we work systematically in this direction, as we do with the 'Rhodes Co-Lab' initiative, for Rhodes to be the first sustainable tourist destination in the world. So we are very happy to support the organisation, and we are ready to welcome the European tourism sector associations to this historic meeting."

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