For tourism in Greece, 2019 – the year before the pandemic – was regarded as the record-breaking year… till now. While the industry was confident that 2022 would be a good year, thanks to the serious efforts of all stakeholders, both the number of arrivals and revenue from tourism have surpassed expectations.
In July alone, the 14 regional airports which serve the main summer tourist destinations, recorded an increase of just under 14% – or 5.127 million passengers, up from 4.49 million in July of 2019. Looking at the first seven months of the year, the regional airports welcomed 12.85 million travellers, compared with 12.33 in 2019.
Indeed, bookings and projections to date indicate that the overall results for the whole year will show an increase of around 5% in arrivals and 10% in revenue, ie well above the high levels of 2019. In absolute terms, government officials and industry players estimate the revenue from incoming tourism this year could reach €20 billion.
How did Greece manage to bounce back so effectively?
Early lifting of post-pandemic travel restrictions
Greece opened for incoming tourism right after Greek Orthodox Easter on April 24, ahead of many other destinations.
While other destinations are experiencing a drop in arrivals due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Greece’s efforts to penetrate new markets proved to be successful and more than compensated for the loss of tourists from these two countries which only accounted for a low percentage of overall arrivals.
Increased interest from the US
With 63 weekly flights arriving from the US, Greece has witnessed a sharp increase in high-spending holidaymakers from across the Atlantic.
Even before travel restrictions were lifted, Greek invested in tourism campaigns that prepared the market for the first opportunity for holiday travel. Messages such as ‘All You Want is Greece’, and ‘You Will Want to Stay Forever’ resonated with the public and delivered results.
While tourism has always been a cornerstone of Greece’s economy, there is every reason to believe that there still is room for growth in this sectors, especially as new tourist projects and infrastructure take shape.
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