Tourist snub for pricey Ithaca.
High prices are putting off tourists on the Greek island of Ithaca, near Kefalonia. Locals have been warned to charge less as the number of visitors arriving by ferry dropped dramatically. Ithaca has seen a big fall in tourist arrivals to the island by ferry this year. Figures from the Port Authority of Kefalonia in June alone show a fall of 1,650 passengers and 644 vehicles arriving by ferry compared to the previous year.
Locals have been warned that high transport costs and the prices of hotels and restaurants is to blame. The warning follows a meeting between the Kefalonia mayor and visiting political figures.
Ithaca hoteliers and restaurant owners were told that they must improve quality and lower prices if they are to attract more tourists.
New Democracy political candidate Paul Papadatos said : 'To be able to make realistic proposals to attract tourists we should look to the quality of our tourist product, the services we offer and the relationship of price and quality service.'
He called on Ithaca to extend the tourist season, to bank more on the Ithaca name as a brand and to fund marketing campaigns in order to boost visitor numbers.
'The decline in arrivals has nothing to do with the economic crisis. There are falls in Kefalonia andIthaca while in other areas are recording increases of up to 25%,' said Mr Papadatos.
There are now plans to organise a conference on holidays in Ithaca in October to address issues of tourism development on Ithaca. They may include talks on promoting local products such as the white cheese produced from the rare goats that breed on the island.