Home News & Interviews Konstantinos Arvanitis, President of Skyros Hotel Association

Konstantinos Arvanitis, President of Skyros Hotel Association

by Hello From Greece

In the heart of the Aegean, with an ease of access, Skyros welcomes a large number of tourists every year. Is the number increasing over the years? What is the reason for that? What are the advantages of the island over other nearby options?

In the last decade the annual number of visitors to the island has been steadily increasing by a small percentage. Small, steady, careful steps have secured this for us. Also, people are looking for other destinations than Greece´s well-known tourist destinations; emerging tourist destinations where they can enjoy tradition, history, gastronomy and above all to enjoy their vacation, which is, as the word itself says, to rest to relax. All of the above, combined with the beauty of the natural landscape, make Skyros unique!

How can someone come to the island as a tourist? Is it accessible all year round?

Skyros, is, if not the only island, certainly one of the few in the country, that has a grassroots maritime company that owns the ship “Achilleas”. Itineraries run daily throughout the year, connecting the island with Evia via the port of Kymi.
In addition, the island is connected by air to Athens and Thessaloniki, again throughout the year.

Tell us about tourist accommodations in your area. Hotels and rooms for rent. Areas where the tourist can stay and what is offered.

There are plenty of accommodations, and in a wide range. Rooms for rent, residences, apartments, villas with private pools, hotels. There is a significant annual upward investment trend in island accommodation.
The visitor can find some kind of accommodation in almost all habitable parts of the island. Starting from the port, Linaria, Acherounes, Kalamitsa, Aspous, Achilli, the land of Skyros, the Molos-Magazia area where the central beach of the island is located, Gyrismata, Atsitsa, areas that all have a beach .

Between all the different types of hotel units, the many rental rooms and apartments, what does the tourist choose? Have his priorities changed since the past?

We would say that, at least for our own island, the visitors have a tendency towards private accommodation. They seek relaxation and tranquillity through privacy.
There are no large units on the island, so the majority of visitors are looking for just that.

From your experience, is the tourist attracted by the neat facilities, the all-day entertainment and entertainment program that a hotel can offer, its location, the general amenities, or does the cost of accommodation take priority?

Certainly the cost is an important factor for the choice of accommodation.
But the most important thing is not the price itself as much the services provided. There should be a balance in this, which unfortunately in our country we do not often find.
We would say that for us who are professionally engaged in tourism on the island, it is a big bet, which for the moment we seem to be winning. Nevertheless, it requires enormous attention so as not to destroy our product.

Do the “all inclusive” hotels play a big part or does the tourist prefer to get to know the whole island and not choose such an accommodation?

At this moment, the visitor will not come to Skyros for an all-inclusive hotel. As we said before, there are no big accommodations to have this type of guest except a big hotel that does such deals.
As a destination we have many things to show, and we want the visitor to see them.

Is the rise of Airbnb on your island worrying you? Please explain.

As long as there is collegiality in what we do, we are not worried. We, as an accommodation and hotel association, we owe it to our land and its history to be united among us, and even more so when it has to do with the promotion of our land. Information is important and also being responsible in what we do.

Give an indicative price range. Can someone with a low income easily find a place to stay?

There are rooms for rent that can be rented for two people for 40-50 euros per day in the high season, but there are not many. Also, guests should make their reservations early to get these prices.

Where can a visitor go to find accommodation? Do you have a service of your own? Do web pages actually help?

There are pages that have gathered the accommodations, as well as through our home site.
Now most viewings are done through social media and accommodation sites.

Do you have tourism both from Greece and all over the world? Do Scandinavians visit the island? From which areas? How do you promote the island abroad?

We would say that approximately 75-80% are Greeks. Then Austrians and Czechs, due to charter flights from these countries. French, British, etc, mainly from Europe.
From the Scandinavian countries, I wouldn’t say that we have enough visitors. I think the main reason is accessibility. If there is no direct flight, it is difficult for the Scandinavians to come.
The island is mainly promoted through international exhibitions, wherever we attend.
In general, it is an area that has great room for improvement.

Do you organize festivals and fairs with other institutions of the island with the aim of culturally supporting your particular traditions and aiming to attract a greater number of tourists?

Although we do have many festivals, especially in the summer months, we have not promoted it enough to attract visitors for this purpose.
In recent years, a festival of traditional dances has been organized with particular success by the cultural association Anemoessa with participating associations from regions all over Greece.

How long is the tourist season in Skyros? Until what month do the hotels stay open serving tourists? Do you have visitors on the island during the winter months? Where do they stay? What do you have to offer them in the cold months?

Most accommodations operate seasonally in the summer months. By mid-May, almost most accommodations are ready to welcome guests. Several of them operate until the end of September-beginning of October.
The Carnival season is very important for the island. The Skyrian carnival is known because of its tradition. Its origin is lost in the depths of the centuries; a Dionysian custom that is kept alive by the youngsters of the island. Its last weekend, the island is full, just like in mid-August. It is really difficult to find accommodation then. In many cases, bookings start at the end of previous summer.

Do you have any specific initiatives to suggest that could be taken at local and national level that would upgrade the offer, attract more tourism and extend the tourist season?

At the local level, the most important thing is to set goals for tourism. When you have goals, it is up to you to fulfil them. Also, the lengthening of the tourist season is very important. This is mainly done by attracting foreign tourism. But again, it is very important to find the right target group in order not to spoil your product.
At the national level, I think a lot needs to be done. A key thing that needs to be done is to create new distribution channels for inbound tourism in the country. There are many remarkable destinations in Greece that do not have tourism development for this very reason. The current trend for our country is to highlight new destinations. This is what the tourist is now looking for. Tourist destinations are nice, I agree, but now they are oversaturated. The foreigner must now see Greece as he saw it in the 60s through the tradition, the history, the genuine tastes, the genuine people, the warmth.
We can talk for hours about what can be done. Tourism in Greece is unfortunately progressing on its own, on automatic.

In which areas have you upgraded your services, especially after the difficult tourist season of the coronavirus? What do you expect from the tourist season this year?

Due to the small accommodations, the island did quite well during the corona virus period compared to other destinations. This taught us a lot! Most importantly, we realized that ultimately what we considered our weaknesses were what kept us going and succeeded.
There is generally optimism among professionals in our industry. Already, the start of the tourist season compared to last year is up in reservations.
Companionship, cooperation and service are needed. With these, success is a given.

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