Statistics time: In one of our Paros newspapers the local Port Authority was quoted as announcing that tourism had increased 35% this year over last year. I found this hard to believe. True last year was down considerably--due to the Olympics everyone said; if people weren't going to the Olympics they tended to pass on Greece that year. True this year was quite busy in the few days of high season--many more Italians than recent years for some reason (if anyone knows why, let me know, please). But most of the season was normal for hotels. Of course the port activity would include Greeks visiting friends or using their holiday homes. Private home construction has been booming on Paros. Another explanation is that many Athenians did not holiday last year; choosing to stay in Athens for the Olympics.
Now comes another set of numbers from the Institute for Touristic Research and Forecasts (ITEP) indicating that the regional areas of Greece, including many islands, experienced flat to declining numbers. They did not list the numbers for Paros, but we were not included in the list of islands with positive increases. Go figure.
ITEP does predict an overall increase in visitors to Greece of about 6% for 2006. We hope to do our part with just friends and family.