Crete, the largest island in Greece, considers India an important market and sees immense potential in the country. “We believe that India has more potential than China. India has majority of younger population. Indian tourists are looking at experiences out of the ordinary,” shared Michalis Vamiedakis, Commissioner of Tourism for the Island of Crete, Greece on the sidelines of a seminar to promote Crete Islands amongst Indian travel trade in Mumbai.
Crete also plans to promote the destination extensively in India next year by organising roadshows. “We have started with Mumbai as it is the largest market in the country,” he shared. Crete welcomes approximately 15% of international tourism to Greece and has witnessed 40% increase in international tourist arrivals in past 4 years. “Crete can be part of a longer tour or a stand-alone destination. We are trying to balance between the traditional and new markets,” Vamiedakis added.
Talking about profile of tourists, the Commissioner said “Crete has the potential to meet all the expectations of FIT (Free Independent Traveller), group travellers, families, MICE (Meeting Incentives, Conferences/Conventions and Exhibitions) and even big fat Indian weddings. We are also flexible with gastronomy, catering to the vegetarian food preference of Indian guests. Apart from that there are Indian restaurants in Crete as well.” Crete is also looking at organising FAM trips for the Indian travel trade to give them a first hand experience.
Crete Island is the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. Its top 10 source markets include Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Israel and Belgium. 40% of visitors come back to Crete in their next scheduled holiday (within 1-2 years). “There are very few Indian tourists visiting Greece and further less to Crete. It is a long-haul destination and hence the number is less,” the Commissioner shared. The average travel time to Crete is 8-9 hours.
“Mumbai is well connected with various cities across the globe; hence connectivity is not an issue. We have good air connectivity through the Middle East and also through Athens and all main European cities,” Vamiedakis said.
Crete has 3 airports and 6 ports. It offers longest tourism season of all Greek uslands. The best time to visit the destination is from March to November. Crete receives 17 million global tourists in a year. It boasts of 1046 km of coastline. Recently, a new campaign has been launched for Crete called “Day dreaming of Crete”.