With optimism, smiles and many good messages that this year will be a milestone for tourism in the three islands of the Sporades, the tourist season has started and the “engines” rev up as planes and ships have started bringing the colorful crew. of tourists to Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
The first charter flights for Sporades have landed at “Alexandros Papadiamantis” in Skiathos and the first to arrive were French tourists on a “Transavia” flight from Paris, followed by British tourists on “Jet2” from London.
The first charters have reached the Sporades
On May Day, the day the tourist season officially begins, all the big hotels on the island opened in Skiathos and day by day the smaller units open as well, as bookings for the current year exceed all expectations.
Fraport chief at Skiathos airport Stefanos Lambropoulos, speaking to APE-MPE, emphasized that “while last year plane arrivals in May reached 220, this year they will reach 300 and the destinations are several more. If the arrivals of private planes are added to the landings in May, it means that all records will be broken.
Aegean and SkyExpress are also active with many daily routes to Skiathos airport.” Skiathos Hotel Association President Alekos Efstathiou told APE-MBE that “messaging is great for Skiathos and we hope that at the peak of the season, that is, July and August, there is not even a free bed on the island.” and this presupposes that we must be prepared on all sides, both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of facing difficulties because moving to its high limits means that we must operate with absolute professionalism in each area.
We seek to improve the quality of the tourist who comes to Skiathos every year and aim at the continuous improvement of the services offered”. Already in Skiathos the urban transport of the island has improved spectacularly, since everything has changed, new buses have been launched in all bus lines and the improvement is noticeable in the expression of satisfaction of the tourists who basically go to the beaches.
Coastal ferries to Sporades
At the same time, and of great importance, is the sector of coastal navigation, where conventional and high-speed ships from Volos, Mantoudi and Thessaloniki arrive at the islands. The main port bound for Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos is still Volos, from which two very large, but extremely fast conventional boats depart daily, as well as one speedboat. In high season, ferries will operate four routes a day and speedboats will double, meaning routes will run from morning to night. Of great importance is the continuation of the direct ferry connection between the Sporades and Thessaloniki, with a large high-speed ferry, with services starting on June 2 and ending at the end of September.
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The ship will make routes to the Sporades three times a week and in the months of July and August the routes will become four. The routes to Sporades from the port of Thessaloniki will be operated by the high-speed ferry Superrunner 2, from the SeaJets company, which can carry 900 passengers and 160 cars. The routes will be operated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and in high season a route will also be operated on Saturdays.
Skiathos Mayor Thodoris Tzoumas characteristically told APE-MPE that “together with Thessaloniki Mayor Konstantinos Zervas, we tried and were listened to by the Ministry of Shipping, because there is a great demand for movements from the north of Greece and from the abroad and Balkans.The ticket prices remain the same and usually an economy class ticket from Thessaloniki to Skiathos costs 36.70 euros.We must try and succeed to make this particular ferry connection viable.
Sporades and the legendary MAMA MIA in Skopelos
Northern Greece and the Balkans have always wanted and supported the direct connection between the Sporades and Thessaloniki. This summer is expected to be by far the best ever and this is already shown by the fact that by mid-May occupancy will exceed 65% at least in Skiathos.”
The same optimism prevails in Skopelos for this year, as messages through bookings give the impression that previous years’ records will be broken and characteristically, tourism agent Gianna Efstathiou of “Dolphin Skopelos” told APE- MPE that “our beautiful island is ready for its best tourist year. We have prepared ourselves like professionals and we want every visitor to be completely satisfied. Green Skopelos with its wonderful beaches aims for a quality tourist who will fall in love with the island and in the last In the decade there are thousands and those who fall in love with her through the images of the mythical musical Mamma Mia are multiplying, making thousands of people dream, living moments like this.
With improved coastal ferry connections, Skopelos has come closer not only to Volos, but also to Thessaloniki and the other islands.” Smiles abound for Skopelos Hoteliers Union President Mary Diamantis, who, representing hundreds of of his colleagues on the island, spoke with APE-MPE and highlighted that “on the island there is an increase in reserves close to 25% compared to the same period last year, which was also good, but this year we are going for a record . In addition to organized visitors to Skopelos coming from abroad via Skiathos Airport, there is high mobility and demand in bookings from independent and individual clients.
All of them take care and make their reservations on time and in fact much earlier from international internet platforms. The interconnection of all the ports of our island, namely Chora, Glossa and Agnontas, plays a very important role for Skopelos with other islands and many land destinations, especially again this year with Thessaloniki. However, we expect massive but calm tourism after May 15 with the arrival of British, Scandinavian and French, but also Italians mainly in August.”
The outlook is similar for Alonissos, where the green island of the Sporades expects to fill up with tourists from the end of May, as it is the furthest from the rest of the Sporades. Mayor Petros Vafinis, himself a hotelier, told APE-MPE that “we always promote the uniqueness of our island with its green landscape and clear blue waters, combined with the famous underwater museum that has dominated in recent years, as well as the excellent marine park in our sea where monachus-monachus turtles live and are protected.
Alonissos offers unique features that no other place has. Let’s not forget about gastronomy as our island is famous for its lobster pasta and local Alonissian tuna. We want to improve medical care on our island and we want to live our best summer without problems”. Optimism reigns in the three islands of the Sporades for this summer and, as the numbers show, it will surpass all the previous ones, as long as professionalism works and there are no unforeseen events that alter the data. After all, they say in the Sporades that when their flagship, as they call Skiathos, does well, then everything goes well for Skopelos and Alonissos and the prospects are more than positive.