While tourism in Greece has already begun to exceed expectations for the summer of 2014, domestic tourism seems to be declining as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in Greece. This phenomenon can primarily be seen in popular tourist destinations such as Rhodes and Naxos.
According to Greek media and statistical research, in June alone, 350,000 tourists visited the island of Rhodes, 8.4% higher than that of June 2013. Nonetheless, only 5% of those tourists were Greeks while last year Greeks represented 10% of the island’s tourists. Moreover, in Naxos, 20% of the tourists that had visited the island in June were Greeks when last year during the same period, their number was almost 30%. The root of the problem no doubt begins with the low average income of the Greeks.
When Greeks average around 700 euros per month compared to their European counterparts who average well over 1000 and even 2000 in some countries such as England, France, and Germany, it is easy to understand why traveling, even domestically, can be a problem for Greeks who are in the midst of a economic crisis within their country.
In addition, while a decrease in wages, unemployment, and the axing of many employees have no doubt contributed to the decline of domestic tourism in Greece, one of the biggest problems of the summer for Greeks are the prices for ferries. Ticket prices for ferries have dramatically increased since Easter where prices skyrocketed from 10% to as high as 30%. The average ticket price for taking a ferry from either Rafina or Piraeus to Naxos ranges from 40 to even 65 euros. International tourists however are able to travel to the island via air travel removing the hassle and hefty prices of ferries. Even for less popular tourist destinations the prices of ferries have increased.
For example, to travel from Rafina to Marmari a small town located on the island of Evia, and only an hour away, the price for a single person was 6,50 euros in the summer of 2013, this summer the price has gone up to 8 euros. If a citizen of Marmari is traveling with a car back to his hometown from Athens he will have to pay 21 euros in order to park his car in the ferry. Such hefty prices have crippled domestic tourism and Greeks who can simply not afford to go on vacation to any of the islands in Greece.