Travel arrivals to Greece hit 1 million per week in August

Greece will welcome one million travelers every week during this summer period, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) on Sunday.

In July, traveler arrivals exceeded 900,000 per week, he said and added that no one can doubt the excellent course of tourism in Greece so far.

“This year, tourism turned out to be Greece’s ‘heavy industry’, which [is not only capable of supporting] the national economy but also [offers]…substantial support in very difficult conditions, such as those which, unfortunately, have been put in place across Europe,” the minister said.

Top travel markets for Greece

Greece tops the travel preferences of French and Israeli tourists this summer, and there has been a stunning increase in arrivals from the United States and Austria.

Commenting on the losses of the Russian and Ukrainian tourist markets, Minister Kikilias highlighted the main tourist markets of the season for 2022: “Greece will be the first destination for travelers from France and Israel, very high in the list of travelers of the Balkans, and in the [top three for] travelers from Germany and… Scandinavian countries.

Regarding arrivals from the United States, data for the month of June showed a 50% increase compared to 2019, while there was a 32% increase in arrivals from Austria and a 24% increase from Israel.

One of the biggest bets in Greek tourism is the lengthening of the tourist season.

“There is evidence, not just indications, that the tourist season has already been extended and…there are also indications that it will be further extended,” the tourism minister said.

Large booking capacity

An early summer report by ForwardKeys for the World Travel Market revealed that six Greek tourist destinations were among the top ten travel bookings in Europe for the third quarter of 2022, from July to September.

During the last week of July, local officials confirmed that several Greek islands had full or high booking capacity as the summer season neared its August peak.

In the Cyclades, the islands of Andros, Naxos and Santorini were fully booked for August, with Ios and Sifnos closing in. Samos, Chios and Limnos in the North and East Aegean appear to have topped tourist traffic in 2019, based on the latest figures available.

High travel flows are expected to continue into September and beyond in several Greek islands.

According to the Airport Industry Connectivity Report for 2022 recently published by the trade association ACI Europe, Greek airports appear not only to have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also exceeded traffic volumes of pre-pandemic passengers in June alone.

Tourism accounts for 20% of Greece’s GDP and employs countless Greeks across the spectrum of the hospitality industry. Data from the Bank of Greece in April 2022 indicated that tourism revenues were above April 2019 levels, marking an increase of nearly one million euros.

It is estimated that the 2022 tourist season will bring in about 80% of the eighteen billion euros ($18.33 billion) earned in 2019.


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