Greece was the only Member State defying a pan-European decrease in the volume of commercial flights in July, a report by Eurostat has shown.
According to data, commercial flights in the EU decreased by 15 percent compared with July 2019 – the latest year when no travel restrictions were in place during that month.
But the trend was reversed in Greece alone; the country actually saw a seven percent increase last month compared to the same period pre-pandemic.
Sharp increase in Greece flight arrivals
Greece has been welcoming a record number of tourists since June already, according to the latest arrivals data.
Over 900,000 tourists arrived in Greece every week in July, which was expected to rise ever further to 1,000,000 travelers per week in August.
Greece “is set to see unprecedented figures in arrivals and in tourism industry earnings in the month of August, surpassing even the record-breaking numbers of 2019,” Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Greek newspaper Proto Thema on Saturday.
The numbers of German and British tourists in July were higher than in 2019 in several destinations, including in Rhodes, where German visitors are up by 24.6 percent, and in Chania, Crete, where Germans are up by 78.3 percent and Britons by 43.2 percent, official data indicated.
The latest figures also showed arrivals going up at Athens International Airport as well in July, with 29 percent more arrivals from Germany, 15 percent more from France, 19 percent from Israel, and an astounding 257 percent from Serbia and 177 percent from Turkey.
Greek tourism “not on autopilot”
According to Kikilias, the tourist season in Greece started earlier than ever in 2022, and there is hard work being done towards extending it to the end of the year.
“This expansion of the [tourist] season will happen for the first time, it brings many new records for Greek tourism and it’s not on autopilot,” he said.
A coordinated campaign to attract Northern European tourists to Greece in the winter months is underway, through a series of contacts with Germany, Sweden, Austria and France.