The allure of the open road and the freedom to explore has seen a significant surge in motor caravan (RV) arrivals in northern Greece. This summer alone witnessed a 30% increase, marking a growing trend in caravan and RV tourism in the region.
The rise is particularly notable in Turkey, with arrivals increasing by over 20%. Concurrently, motorhome arrivals from Balkan countries have also seen an uptick, showcasing the region’s appeal to a diverse range of travelers.
However, not all news is positive. Arrivals from northern European countries have declined by at least 15%. This drop is attributed to inflationary pressures in those nations and the significant rise in Greek ferry boat charges, which may have deterred some travelers.
In terms of destinations within Greece, Chalkidiki stands out as the top choice for motorhome tourists, capturing 50% of the preference. Following closely are Pieria and the Mt. Pindos area, with 30% and 20% respectively, according to a report Pagenews.gr.
Data from the European Caravan Federation paints a broader picture of the caravan landscape in Europe. In 2020, there were 3.47 million caravans and 2.42 million motor caravans. By 2022, the sector’s turnover, including overnight camping fees, equipment, and spare parts, reached a staggering 120 billion euros.
In a move to boost the sector, Greece reduced the tax for motorhome importers by 75% in January 2021. This significant reduction has led to an influx of imports, with 250 motorhomes entering the country since the new taxation.
The potential economic contribution of the motor caravan sector to Greece is immense. With minimal infrastructural investment and the right legislation, especially for camper stops, the sector could thrive and become a major contributor to the Greek economy.
However, challenges persist. The lack of specific legislation and high taxation has been a barrier to growth. Motor caravans are currently classified as private cars, limiting their activities. Proper camper sites with basic amenities and security could address this issue.
Private investment is another area of opportunity. With as low as €500, essential private investments without services can be made. Plans are underway to present related business proposals to the Tourism Ministry, aiming to establish Greece’s first official camper stop.
Historically, Greece has always had a demand for motorhomes. However, challenges like the economic crisis and excessive taxation have hindered its growth. With the right infrastructure, Greece could attract northern European travelers seeking warmer climates during winter.
For perspective, every year, 200,000 German motorhome owners spend their winters in Spain, contributing €1,000-€1,500 per month per family to the Spanish economy. Similarly, Dutch and British travelers prefer Portugal. Greece, with its rich history, culture, and favorable climate, has the potential to tap into this lucrative market.