Greek island tourism leaders have launched a campaign to attract more on Greek island scuba diving holidays divers in 2012. A recent survey revealed around 250,000 divers chose Greek island waters for scuba diving holidays up to the end of October last year.
Almost 95% of 7,500 visiting divers who responded to a questionnaire ranked the Greek Islands among their favourite scuba diving destinations in the world.
Now Greek minister George Tzanakis wants tourism leaders to cash in on the soaring interest in Greek island diving holidays.
He urges them to take full advantage of the relaxation in laws governing recreational diving in Greece. Now island administrations across Greece have launched a campaign to attract diving tourists
The Greek Islands to the table for scuba diving holidays for three main reasons:
Greece, says Mr Tzanakis, has an impressive 16,500 kilometres of coastline suitable for diving, while the main destinations of visiting divers being the islands of Kos, Corfu, Zante and Crete.
Relaxation of diving limits in the pristine Northern Sporades waters, with 14 new designated diving spots, had created a new momentum in the Greek market for diving tourism.
Diving tourists could attract even more visitors on Greek island holidays this year. According to figures from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), more than 20 million diving certificates have been issued across the world.
Recent figures show 3.5 million certified divers are from Europe and of them around 800,000 travel abroad each year. It is readily apparent that "Greece has immense prospects of potentially becoming their top destination," said Mr Tzanakis.
Words by Jeremy Guest
Some beaches on popular Greek island holiday destinations like Corfu, Crete, Lesvos and Zante will not be able to fly the Blue Flag after spot checks led to their being withdrawn
Work on the new airport for Paros started in 2012 and should be finished early next year. Full service for domestic flights from Athens and from airports could be in operation next April.
Russian holidays in Greece have been badly hit this year by the Ukrainian crisis and the troubled stand-off between Russia and much of the Western world over its involvement in the region.
Each year sees a decline in the number of family-owned Greek island tavernas and bars as they have been driven out of business by cut-price all-inclusive holiday deals.