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UK visitors return to Rhodes

- by Dave Sewel

UK holiday visitors return to Rhodes.

UK holidaymakers are booking more holidays in Rhodes as fears of economic problems in Greece fade. Latest figures show UK visitors up 7.5% in the first three months of 2012 against the same period last year. Germans are also returning to Rhodes in numbers, with an 8% rise.

Despite the recovery in holiday bookings to Rhodes from the UK, total visitor numbers across the whole of Greece are still down 11.7% this year, according to a survey by the Border Bank of Greece.

The Greek Statistical Authority has also revealed that arrivals from Europe, which accounts for the largest share of the Greek holiday market, suffered an 8.5% drop over the same three months.

But with Germany and the UK making up the lion's share of the market in holidays on Rhodes and on most Greek Islands, tourism locals are hoping the worst is over and that the Greek Islands can get back to the situation last year when holiday numbers soared 10% for the year.

Messages of optimism for the Greek tourism came from Tourism Minister, Olga Kefalogianni, after meetings in London recently with representatives some of the largest travel agencies.

She said travel agents had noticed an improved climate for Greek holidays and she backed a step-by-step plan to "reverse the negative image left for Greek tourism and for last minute reservations". She sai dthat stable government was having a major impact on security.

The Federation of Dodecanese Societies of Commerce is to quiz foreign tourists and visitors of Rhodes between August and September to chart the "impressions and perceptions" of the island of Rhodes in a bid to boost visitor numbers next year.

And regional Greek flier Minoan Airlines is to launch scheduled flights between Crete, Rhodes and Kos this year. According to the company's website the main Minoan Airlines destinations from Heraklion, Crete, are Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kos, Mytilini, Santorini and Rhodes with flights on three days each week