We’re already a couple of weeks into the new year, and while there is rightly a lot of optimism about what 2018 will bring, it’s easy to forget about all the good things that happened in the last 12 months.
It’s time to reflect on 2017, a great year for locals and visitors to Rhodes alike. Here is our round-up of some of the reasons why it was a memorable year for the island and the best stories to come out of Rhodes in 2017.
Record numbers of visitors
Rhodes saw huge increases in the number of arrivals in 2017.
Rhodes has long been known as a popular holiday destination due to its combination of natural beauty, amazing history and culture, but 2017 saw even more tourists flock to the island than usual. The number of visitors to Rhodes in April 2017 represented a 35% increase from April 2016, and hotel occupancy rates for summer 2017 were over 90%. The trend is predicted to increase over the next few years as more visitors are tempted by the island’s charms.
As the first part of Rhodes that many visitors to the island see on arrival, it’s important that the airport makes a great first impression. That’s why it’s fantastic news that the airport will receive a huge makeover, as announced in July. The plans include renovating the terminal building, opening two new restaurants and increasing the number of check-in areas, gates and luggage conveyor belts to make visitors’ experiences as smooth as possible. Work on the facelift has already begun, meaning arrivals next summer and beyond will benefit from the improved facilities.
In addition, it was announced in April that two new 5-star hotels will be built on the island, one featuring a spa and tennis courts and the other boasting a pool and various sports facilities.
New species discovered
History was made at Butterfly Valley where a new species was discovered.
The famous Petaloúdes - known in English as the Butterfly Valley - has long been one of Rhodes’ most popular and most-loved attractions, but in November it made headlines when a new species of insect was discovered in the Valley. Discovered by Greek and Russian scientists during a night-time visit to the Valley, the new species of cricket was named Ovaliptila Rhodos after the island where it was found.
It was a great year for Rhodes at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. The island was widely recognised as one of the top tourist destinations on the continent, with Saint Paul beach in Lindos being named one of the top 15 beaches in Europe by TripAdvisor users. Rhodes also had two beaches (Saint Paul and Anthony Quinn Bay) in TripAdvisor’s top 10 Greek beaches, and two of the Top 10 Landmarks in Greece, namely the Acropolis of Lindos and the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes in the Old Town.
In July, Rhodes was also ranked as one of the top 10 islands in Europe by the New York-based Travel and Leisure Magazine, receiving an impressive overall score of 86/100 over various categories including natural attractions, beaches, activities and the quality of the car rental agencies and hotels.
One of the best stories to come out of Rhodes in 2017 involved a message in a bottle. Image: Pixabay.
Rhodes made international headlines in August for one of the year’s best feel-good stories when a British couple on holiday on the island dropped a bottle containing a message and their email address into the ocean.
“We are currently on holiday in Rhodes and we would love to know how far this bottle got, even if it’s just the next beach,” the couple wrote in their message.
Incredibly, the bottle washed ashore over 500 miles away in Gaza, Palestine, where it was found by a fisherman who asked his son to translate the message.
The fisherman then sent an email to the British couple to let them know how far their bottle had travelled.
Noting that the bottle had somehow made it past an Israeli naval blockade and fishing restrictions to reach him in Gaza, the fisherman said, “I hope one day we (the people of Gaza) will become as free as this bottle was.”
2017 also marked the 50th anniversary of Danish woman Theresa Jette Enevoldsen’s first visit to Rhodes. The island’s most prolific visitor, she reached her 150th visit in 2016 and was named an “Honorary Friend of the Island” by the Municipality of Rhodes. “I’ve become addicted to the island and its people,” she said.
Here at AutoRhodes we are looking forward to another year of helping visitors to Rhodes enjoy all the island has to offer by providing first-class car rental services. Throughout January we’re offering a 10% discount for bookings made for summer 2018. Get in touch for more information!