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Drop in Kefalonia visitors

- by Liz Waugh

Drop in Kefalonia holiday visitors.

UK holidaymakers are giving Kefalonia island the thumbs down, with 1,800 fewer tourists taking Kefalonia holidays last month. The drop in visitor numbers in Kefalonia comes despite a surge in UK visitors to other Greek holiday islands such as Rhodes and Kos.

UK arrivals at Kefalonia airport in August totalled 21,730 compared to 23,611 in the same month last year, a drop of nearly 8%.

Holiday Britons make up the lion's share of the Kefalonia holiday market with over 65% of tourists on the island flying in annually from the UK.

Locals are foxed at why Kefalonia visitor numbers are falling at the same time as the popularity of Greek island holidays is on the rise.

Rhodes expects 2011 to be a record year for tourism with a forecast 2.5 million visitors this year – up 28% on 2010. The Greek islands as a whole have seen a sharp rise in holiday arrivals with numbers up 12% on last year.

Only Austria and the Netherlands are resisting the trend on Kefalonia with a small rise this year. But they only account for 3,543 visitors between them – a small fraction of UK holidaymakers.

The drop in popularity for Kefalonia holidays is reflected in port authority figures. July 2011 ended with 10,433 fewer passengers than in 2010 and 2,773 fewer private cars.

A Kefalonia tourist spokesman said: "The figures released by the Port Authority of Kefalonia just confirm what was visible to the naked eye. In July, it came to Greek visitors to our island, but the movement of Kefalonia from Athens and other areas were clearly reduced."

"As to British tourists, they have the largest share in our tourism market, since it is the 65% of tourists who visit us. Thus, any tendency to decrease or increase in this market, and accordingly affect the overall result of the arrivals."