Romance in the Santorini air
Dabs Banner: October 2013
Santorini comes top of the weddings table.
Romance is in the air on the Greek holiday island of Santorini. It seems that many young couples who take their are so impressed they choose to get married on the island. So far this year, more than 1,000 couples have exchanged vows on the picturesque Aegean island of Santorini, according to latest figures from the island's municipal authority.
It puts Santorini top of the table as the preferred wedding destination for holiday visitors to Greece and the Greek Islands.
And it follows a surge in interest from the Far East with several hundred wedding ceremonies, both civil and religious, conducted for Chinese and Japanese tourists.
One leading Santorini wedding agency claims to have booked 150 weddings on Santorini this year with around 100 for Chinese visitors.
The wedding ceremony boom comes on top of a surge in interest on holidays in Santorini beach resorts this year.
Tourist watchers report an impressive 20% rise in visitor numbers this year and island hotel owners forecast they will have welcomed more than 1.8 million tourists by the end of the 2013 holiday season.
Santorini mayor, Anastasios Nikolaos Zorzos, said the surge in tourist traffic makes this one of the best years ever for the island in terms of tourism.
The mayor attributed this year's high number of visitors to advertising initiatives to promote the island following last year's disastrous season that came in the wake of Greece's financial crisis.
Hotel owners are hoping that recent moves to extend the holiday season will reap even more rewards.
President of the Santorini Hoteliers Association, Manolis Karamolegos, said turnover at hotels on Santorini this year was already up 15% on 2012.
Although October is traditionally seen as the end of the summer tourist season, island hotels that remain open on the island say they are still enjoying room occupancy rates of up to 70%.