Greece has become one of the top destinations for Australians this summer as bookings have soared according to the online travel research company, Webjet.
The company revealed that bookings to Athens from Australia have skyrocketed by 369.5%, a significant increase from last year, when air travel was more restricted, and Athens only placed ninth in popularity.
Athens is also ranked fourth as the most popular destination booked by 18-25-year-olds during the summer months.
“Greece seems to have a unique spell over Aussies during the European summer season,” said David Galt, CEO of Webjet OTA, in an interview with the news site. Greece also has a Greek Diaspora of 424,750, according to the 2021 census.
The article also noted that “with the promise of glistening blue waters and sunshine, Greece has jumped right into the top three most searched international destinations for EU summer.”
Greece opens tourism office in Melbourne to lure Australians
Greece is counting on the new Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) branch opening in Melbourne to boost traveler flows and meet the demands of the growing Australian market.
The opening of a GNTO branch in Melbourne is “very important for us because Australia is a very big market and we want it in Greece,” said Kikilias, adding that the tourist season in Greece had now been extended beyond the traditional summer months into fall and winter and has started earlier – in March – than ever before this year.
“I think the season will be very long. In 2019, we had 340,000 Australians come and the trend is up. We know that the Australian tourist who will come here is not only coming for reasons of nostalgia – which are very important, of course, as you can imagine – but is also coming to experience something authentic,” said Spyrou.
The opening of a GNTO branch in Melbourne is part of the Tourism Ministry’s strategy to further strengthen ties with the Greek diaspora in Australia.
“It is vital that we add more markets, more dynamic to the country, so that we have travelers and tourists 12 months a year,” Kikilias has said, referring to the 300,000 Greek-Australians who live in Melbourne – the world’s second-largest diaspora community – and are eager to travel after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
Greece is expecting to have a record tourism year, surpassing 2019 before the Coronavirus pandemic struck the world in early 2020, bringing lockdowns and nearly shutting off international air traffic completely.
In February, Kikilias said that Greece will experience a 20 percent increase in tourism this year. He also predicted a lengthening of the season this summer.
In 2022, Greece essentially ended its health restrictions, with vaccination proof no longer required and life returning largely to normal.