Corfu Accommodation History
Now days, self catering Corfu accommodation is presented as the most competitive across Greece in both quality and quantity, with a potential to cover the needs of even the most demanding guests.
It is said that Greece is one of the few countries that offer the key to “self discovery”. Beyond a shade of doubt for the above, Corfu can be said is still one of the most fascinating places to visit for holidays around the world.
Corfu is the island which enchanted poets and kings . . . The link between East and West . . . The place that offered shelter to Ulysses and was chosen by Poseidon to indulge into his adore for Amphitriti . . .
Corfu was always pretty, romantic, natural, historic and specifically with spontaneous nature, with impressively varied flora, deserted beaches, crystal waters, narrow paths through thick, perennial olive trees, Byzantine churches and medieval villages, which are refreshing the mind and reactivating the humanity of the visitor.
A small, yet important start
In 1935 Gerald Durrell came and staid with his elder brother, who was already living on the island of Corfu. Both brothers’ books made Corfu an exotic destination for the British to visit.
Until 1950 tourism in Corfu was brief and mainly consisted of few wealthy Europeans, who were impressed of Corfu’s culture, history and spontaneous nature and / or travellers, stopping on the island for commercial reasons. That was about to change though.
Club Mediterane Era (Club Med)
In 1952, an unknown French investor, called Blitz, rented an estate between Dassia and Ipsos, from the family “Kyriaki – Merlin”. There he creates the “Club Mediterane for French tourists, brought on the island on Air-France seaplanes.
This was the golden beginning into creating accommodation for tourist exploitation on the island of Corfu. In order to understand the decisive contribution of CLUB MEDITERANE in this matter, it is worth to say that on 1953, in the whole island of Corfu had arrived 720 tourists from various countries and in CLUB MED 3.555 French tourists.
Months later and after government’s brave grants, starts the operation the CORFU PALACE Hotel and the tourist kiosk in Kanoni, just beyond the Royal Palace.
In the years followed until 1967, the locals living abroad as immigrants in various European countries, began to return to Corfu. They had to depart as financial immigrants in the late 50’s because income from the local industry (olive oil and agriculture) was not sufficient to sustain their families. With the little money they brought back with them, they started investing in the brand new industry of tourism, creating small camping sites, “rooms to let” and little shops close by Club Med and the other hotels, which had already been established with government’s grants.
It was only now a matter of time for the various Tour Operators from UK and Germany to follow. This also coincided with with the modernisation of the Corfu airport and increase of domestic (initially) flights, sending tourists to the hotels and the accommodation existing so far.
Corfu started getting advertised worldwide and soon after, the available Corfu accommodation by the organised hotels and by the “rooms to let” became very sparse.
The foreign Tour Operators (mainly British) realised very quickly that Corfu was one of the most profitable destinations. So they started investing in self catering accommodation by offering to local owners high money advances for the years to follow, so that they could built easy and quickly more houses, more rooms, more accommodation.
This culminated on the decade of 1975 – 1985, when all the available plots in each resort were built with properties for rent. There are still villages on the island that the available accommodation is four and five times more than locals’ houses.
It is a matter of fact that, this rapid and unregulated increase of self catering (mainly) accommodation built and offer, had negative effects, culminating in the low quality of the services provided and consequently in tourism quality.
On late 80’s, another type of Tour Operators started appearing in Corfu, specialised in self catering villas and offering high prices to accommodation owners. On the north-eastern part of Corfu started to emerge rapidly beautiful villas with fantastic pool and structures, in panoramic spots, which gradually spread throughout the island.
The thriving so far self catering apartments began to decline, their demand fell to the minimum, while the refurbished and modernised big hotels started taking over again.
It has been reported that on the year 2010 the accommodation offered in Corfu was 44.662 beds in 23.667 rooms, when these figures, on the late 90’s, were exceeding the 32.000 rooms and 60.000 beds (in hotels, self catering villas and apartments or rooms to let).
Corfu accommodation owners, acting as real professionals, learned quickly from previous experiences and started renovating and upgrading their properties. Tourism in Corfu has started diversifying, included a lot more options.
Nowdays, self catering accommodation in Corfu and hotels are well presented. This fact together with the amazing Corfiot culture, has contributed into a steady increase on Europeans choosing Corfu for a memorable and relaxing holiday.