The tourism industry in Greece was optimistic about the Summer season this year after a brutal 2020 — but few expected the huge increase of tourists to Greece that July saw.
According to Bank of Greece data released Tuesday, the number of incoming travelers to Greece increased by a staggering 240.2% in July and by 51.4% over the January-July 2021 period, with travel revenue up by 235.6% in July and by 139.7% in the seven-month period.
The number of inbound travelers in July 2021 rose by 240.2% year-on-year.
Specifically, travelers coming through airports increased by 254.3% relative to July 2020 and traveler flows through road border-crossing points rose by 220.8%. This overall increase was due to higher traveler flows from both within the EU27 (up by 211.8%) and outside the EU27 (up by 352.7%).
Tourism flow by both EU and non-EU tourists
Overall, euro area visitors increased by 229.8% to some 1.3 million and the number of non-euro area vacationers grew by 181.4% to 691 thousand. In terms of source markets, travelers from Germany increased by 178.6% to 460 thousand and by 393.9% from France to 261 thousand.
As for non-EU countries, vacationers from the UK were up by 187.3% to 178,000 and by 4,214.3% to 97,000 from the US. The number of visitors from Russia also increased by 6,099.5% to 27,000.
Inbound traveler flows exclude cruise passengers other than those recorded in the Border Survey.
July visitors caused travel receipts to increase by 235.6% year-on-year. Visiting EU residents generated 1,549,000 euros in July up by 190.4%, while non-EU nationals sent revenues up by 393.2% to 712 million euros compared to July 2020 and 144 million euros.
In the period before the summer high season, between January and July 2021,
the number of inbound travelers increased by 51.4% to 4,550,000 against 3,006,000 in the same period in 2020. Traveler flows through airports grew by 103.9% but were down via road border-crossing points by 16.6%.
Travelers from Germany, as per usual, were the leading source market for the given period, reaching 801,000 – up by 156.3%, followed by the French, whose numbers increased by 343.6% to 389,000. Regarding non-EU countries, the number of travelers from the UK rose by 49.9% to 268,000, followed by visitors from the US, up by 53.2% to 135,000 and from Russia by 38.3% to 31,000.
Over the seven-month period, travel receipts increased by 139.7% year-on-year to 3,384 million euros, driven by a 176.9% rise in EU resident spending to 2,318,000 euros and by an 81.3% increase in receipts from non-EU nationals to 1,037,000 euros.
Pandemic and lockdowns didn’t affect increase in tourists
Despite the pandemic lockdowns and the mini-lockdowns implemented in popular tourist destination islands, such as Mykonos, Paros and Santorini in July, the relative easing of restrictions by both EU and non-EU countries led to a seemingly unprecedented increase in Greek tourism.
That was due to the fact that the Greek islands especially remain among the top destinations both for international celebrities and ordinary vacationers alike. One would expect a further uptick in tourism revenue next summer, when restrictions will presumably be eliminated once and for all.