Thematic tourism: Mardi Gras events give millions in revenue for local economy
3 destinations with Patras leading and first, and Xanthi and Rethymno to follow, this year, after 3 years of pandemic and absence of events, welcome the people who will come to visit them again and prepare for the festive atmosphere. The revenues from these events are estimated in millions of euros and the visitors thousands.
Patras: A carnival with history
In Patras, where the carnival is an institution of years and its history starts from the last century, the economic contribution of the events that last almost 20 days has been officially recorded, in an effort made to calculate the economic impact in times of pandemic. The turnover for the city, but also for all involved professionals and the public, seemed to exceed 32 million euros, based on the data of 2019, according to what he said speaking to the Athenian and Macedonian News Agency, the deputy regional governor of Coordination, Administration and Electronic Government Western Greece Region Takis Papadopoulos.
"Carnival in Patras is vital for many businesses. They are the hotels, catering, shops that sell various items, crafts that sew uniforms and many more involved in the chain. According to the Economic impact study from the cancellation of the 2020 carnival events, which was carried out on behalf of the Chamber of Industry of Achaia "every previous year when the carnival was not held, there were losses in the wider economic activity of approximately 32 million euros. Now a loss of income for the Municipality - Public 2.5 million euros. According to the research, losses from hotel cancellations, losses in the catering industry and other commercial businesses, from visitors alone, amount to 11 million euros each year. Based on the sales multiplier multiplier) which is 2.89, the total loss amounts to 32 million for the private sector and 2.5 million for the loss of municipal taxes and public VAT", explains Mr. Papadopoulos and clarifies: "That is, for the 3 years of the absence of carnival events , the losses exceed 90 million Euros".
"Let's not forget that every year around 45 to 50,000 costumes are sewn for Halloween and this is something that also is measured", he adds.
Patra, as he points out, is not as developed touristically as it could be, it is mainly a "passage" and a City break destination. For this reason, Halloween is a very important event in terms of tourism. This year, the hotels especially for the days of the peak of the carnival events, i.e. the last three days, are already over 95% full and in a radius of at least 40 km around Patras.
It is worth noting, as Mr. Papadopoulos emphasizes, that for the first time, in the organization of the Patreon Carnival, which belongs exclusively to the municipality of Patreon, the Region of Western Greece also participates, as mentioned in the contract signed just a few days ago.
The famous Carnival of Xanthi is taking off this year
In the other corner of Greece, in Thrace, for years the Carnival of Xanthi has acquired its own fanatical audience. Although as mentioned by the president of Xanthi Hoteliers, Yiannis Ieropoulos, while Xanthi has all the guarantees to develop as a tourist destination, it still remains at a low level, the Halloween events give an impressively important "breath" to the destination but at the same time make it more and more known.
"What we are expecting this year is unprecedented. We expect a very large participation from both clubs and individual citizens, both from Greece and from abroad, especially from Germany. There is also a large turnout of Bulgarians and even the hotels that are on the Rhodope mountain range on the Bulgarian side are full. Attendance from Turkey is strong, while there are several reservations from Romania as well. Of course, we don't have a bed for the three days of Holy Monday. Many have now turned to the surrounding areas, Komotini, Kavala, Keramoti, etc. We expect over 100,000 people on the Sunday before Clean Monday. There are many buses that will also come as a day trip", says Mr. Ieropoulos and emphasizes that for Xanthi, which has the lowest per capita income, these events are very important for the local economy.
"We have organized very well, for bus parking and transportation, but until now the people we welcomed, I mean before the pandemic, were between 50 and 70,000 people," he adds.
"Many efforts are being made both by us and by the Region to highlight Xanthi as a tourist destination, but we still have a long way to go. However, it is a place of incredible beauty, with the Straits of Nestos and the unique flora and fauna, Livaditis, the thermal baths, Porto Lagos, Lake Vistonida, the old town, the museum of Abdira and much more that can enchant the visitor", underlines Mr. Ieropoulos.
Turnover of millions at the Rethymno Carnival
Crete, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations and successfully bounced back in 2022, surpassing even the most optimistic forecasts, is once again in the spotlight due to the Halloween events with the Rethymnon carnival.
As stated by Manolis Tsakalakis, President of the Hotel Association of Rethymnon, the Carnival events before the pandemic are estimated to have generated a turnover of ten million euros for the local community, for the period of the last week, including the three days of Clean Monday .
"This year, as shown by the bookings, we expect to move at approximately the same levels. We estimate that we will have 15-18,000 carnival-goers and people from all over Crete. During the week of Halloween, many visitors also come from abroad, such as Cyprus, from Scandinavian countries and elsewhere. There are also many who come from Athens and more widely from Central Greece. All this in a period when there is virtually no soul, because it is the period when the student community gives life to the city", Mr. Tsakalakis points out.
"This year we have more than 2000 beds available in Rethymno. Some years they also opened some big hotels with 500 beds, this year we don't know yet, it will depend on the demand", he pointed out.