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Tourism key statistics and major leisure infrastructures

An overview of accommodation facilities and some numbers

rhodes2Here are some major tourism statistics in Rhodes island. A deeper analysis exists in the executives area. According to the Eurostat, in the island of Rhodes exist a total of 494 hotels units and similar establishments with 44.199 rooms and 85.519 beds. In the luxury 5 star category, Rhodes counts 33 hotels which correspond to the 6,7% of the total units, while the number of beds and rooms represents almost 20% of the total capacity of the island with 8.419 rooms and 17.071 beds.

Comparing to Greece’s total number of 5 star Hotels, Rhodes represents 10% of units and 15% of rooms and beds. These hotels record an occupancy rate of 50% on May and 90% to 100% on August while the same average rates in Greece are 45% and 77% respectively. During the last decade a significance increase in 5-star units was recorded while the number of units of the other categories remained almost the same, setting in this way the contemporary character of Rhodes, as a luxury destination.

rhodes1In 2013, Rhodes’ hotel capacity served a total of 1.785.305 tourists who arrived in the island, as they were recorded by the Civil Aviation Authority in Rhodes’ International Airport “Diagoras”. These numbers justify the fame of Rhodes as a premium tourists’ destination, as the local population counts only 115.490 residents according to 2011 census. Hereto a vast ratio of 15.5 tourists per local resident is formed. This ratio far exceeds the one of Greece and European Union averages which are 1,66 and 0,86 respectively.

Tourist arrivals distribution according to country of origin shows that Rhodes is preferred mostly by north European travelers such as British and Germans which both represent 28,5% of total arrivals while Russians also shows an increasing preference on the island with a share of 15,7%. Italy and France have also a significant share of 5,6% and 4,1% respectively. These five countries represent more than 50% of total arrivals while they are among top ten spenders according to UNWTO classification, also confirming the luxury character of Rhodes.

Major leisure infrastructures in Rhodes

CasinoCasino: Located at the center of Rhodes town, the Casino Rodos is housed within the walls of the historic Grande Albergo delle Rose building, and offers the excitement of its 34 gaming tables and 300 slot machines (roulette, blackjack, casino poker, etc.) as well as all of the private member only VIP lounges. It operates daily from 15:00-06:00, while it remains open on a 24 hour basis during the weekends. It is open to visitors and gamers throughout all year. Casino Rodos and the Grande Albergo delle Rose boutique hotel complex is situated in Rhodes town, found on the northern tip of Rhodes Island, Greece. It is only a 15-minute drive from Diagoras International airport and a five-minute drive from Rhodes harbour.

The historic building Grande Albergo delle Rose, was commissioned by Mario Lago, the Italian commander of Dodecanese, in 1924 to the Venetian construction company SAGAR, probably the largest of its kind at the time. Lago’s intention was to improve the tourism standards, of a so promising island otherwise, by constructing a deluxe hotel.

This masterpiece was named the Grande Albergo delle Rose, Italian for Grand Hotel of Roses, attributing its name to the glorious rose garden found on its premises. The Grande Albergo delle Rose was christened the “Dream of the East”, as it became the top attraction of the international jet set of the time. Eleftherios Venizelos, Aristotle Onassis, Constantine Karamanlis, George Papandreou, Winston Churchill and Moshe Dayan are but a few of the great names to have graced the halls of the hotel with their presence.

Many historic events took place at this hotel, one of the most important being the signature of the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.

GolfAfter the incorporation of the Dodecanese into “Mother Greece”, the Grande Albergo delle Rose offered its services to the Greek State. In September 1955 its administration was given to the company Astir S.A and then eventually conceded to the Municipality of Rhodes. A glorious and enviable era came to an end when the doors of this hotel were closed in the mid 1970’s.

Casino Rodos S.A. eventually undertook its usage in the beginning of 1999, promising to give back the glamour, beauty and distinction that it epitomized in the past. This promise was upheld with the rebirth of the legend, the Grande Albergo delle Rose, which will certainly create a new era for itself by continuing on the same brilliant path of the past and uphold the revolutionary standards that it has set for the service and tourism industry.

The entrance requirements are as follows. A valid identification document or passport is required for registration to become a member. The minimum age requirement for using the games is 21 years. No firearms or other weapons are allowed within the premises of the casino. Video or photographic equipment is strictly prohibited within the casino gaming area. The right of admission is reserved. The casino entrance fee of €6,00 is actually a special tax, levied by the Greek government. This ticket is valid for 24 hours for multiple visits to the gaming area of the casino. The ticket automatically becomes null and void in case of exit from the gaming area once the 24 hour validation period has expired. Re-entry to the gaming area during the 24 hour period will only be permitted upon presentation of the respective ticket. The dress code is governed by respectable daywear until 19:00 and smart casual attire after 19:00.

Golf: Afandou golf course is an 18-hole, par-73 golf course in the island of Rhodes, located in Afandou Bay 18 km from Rhodes town, on the road to Lindos. The golf course was designed by the Britain’s world famous golf course architect, Donald Harradine. Since May 1973 the 18 holes have been made available to golfers. The course’s tactical features are a challenge to good scoring, both for amateurs and professionals. The trees, fairways and greens are laid with different grasses selected to keep the course green throughout the year. The course is open to the public 12 months a year and offers the challenge of championship golf course whilst enjoying the pleasures of the Rhodes countryside and the Afandou beach. The club house is very simple with all facilities (changing rooms, lockers, showers, pro shop, snack bar) all offered with the friendly and helpful service.

The first three holes are along the sea. As usually, player’s opinion are mixed, some golfers report the course as surprisingly bland, while others recommend it as a particularly fun course to play. The Afandou Golf Club does not maintain any special relationship with a specific hotel. Admission fees are nominal and caddies, caddy carts, golf clubs and balls, as well as instructions, are available at moderate hire charges. Rates and the greenfees are available to the official site.

AquariumAquarium: The Aquarium of Rhodes is located on the northern tip of the island in Cos Street, less than one kilometer away from the center of the city of Rhodes. It was built by the Italians in 1934. In 1937, it started its operation as a research unit called the Royal Institute of Marine Biology of Rhodes, (Reale Instituto di Ricerch Biogiche di Rodi), studying the hydrobiology, the sponges, fisheries of the Aegean sea and hosting an aquarium with interesting species of the marine fauna of the Mediterranean.

Designed by Armando Bernabiti, the building combines local architectural elements with Art Déco elements of curved lines and circular windows, along with a dominant cylindrical tower. The Aquarium consists of a corridor, with more than forty small tanks, that host marine species on both sides, made of stone and decorated by natural shells, featuring an underwater cave, while the floor is paved by white and black pebbles, featuring marine species.

Since 1947 following the incorporation of the Dodecanese to Greece it has operated under the supervision of the Academy of Athens as Hydrobiological Institute. Then since 1963 it has worked as a museum and a scientific research unit for the Mediterranean, hosting the aquarium and an exhibition area added in 1971-1972, on the north side of the building. The building of the Aquarium of Rhodes is declared by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture a historical preserved building, distinguished example of the “International Style” architecture.