Tourism in Greece is set to break records in 2023 despite the problems created by the fires that forced thousands of tourists to flee from Rhodes, one of the most popular destinations in the country.
According to figures released by the institute INSETE, of the Greek Tourism Confederation, the official number of people who visited the country between January and August this year is up compared to 2022 and 2019 the last year before the coronavirus pandemic.
In August 2023, for example, international air arrivals totaled 4.2 million, registering an increase of 5.0% compared to August 2022, and 9.5% compared to August 2019.
In the period January-August 2023, 17.4 million international air arrivals were recorded, surpassing the levels of January-August 2022, showing an increase of 12.4% / +1.9 million arrivals. Compared to the period January-August 2019, the increase is estimated at 11%.
Despite the fact that tourist arrivals in the Cyclades recorded a slight decline, in other popular destinations the performance more than compensated for the losses.
2023 tourism hotspots in Greece
According to INSETE, in the January-August period:
In the Cyclades there were 1 million international air arrivals, showing a decrease of 6.8% compared to the corresponding period of 2022.
In the Peloponnese, 146 thousand arrivals were recorded, showing a decrease of -5.2%.
In Crete, international air arrivals reached 3.7 million, recording an increase of 5.8%.
International air arrivals at the Dodecanese airports reached 2.9 million, an increase of 2.9%.
In the geographical unit of the Ionian Islands, an increase of 7.4% was recorded, while 2.8 million international air arrivals were recorded.
Tourism receipts in the period between January and July showed an increase of 20.2% compared to the corresponding period of 2022 and amounted to €10,321 million. Compared to the same period of 2019, an increase of 13.2% is recorded.
Receipts from Germany increased by 7.0% to €1,716 million, while receipts from France increased by +23.9% to €782 million.
From the countries outside the EU-27, receipts from the United Kingdom rose by 11.9% to €1,620 million.
Receipts from the US increased by 33.8% to €738 million, while those from Russia increased by 13.7% to €22 million.
Greece winning the tourism bet
Greece is winning the tourism bet for the 2023 season, sector representatives said in statements to AMNA, adding that the sector receipts of 18.2 billion euros recorded in 2019 will be surpassed.
The general secretary of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Dimitris Fragakis said that “despite the structural problems that are common to the sector internationally (e.g. lack of staff, inflationary pressures) but also the unexpected factors in Greece, such as the fires, the tourism year is developing exceptionally well.
“The year 2023 is the first ‘normal’ year for Greek tourism after three extremely difficult years. In this light, we should also judge the performance of tourism this year.”
Focusing on the tourism numbers of 2023, Fragakis stated that “we have an increase in air arrivals throughout the country but also an increase in travel receipts at least for the first half of the year for which we have specific data.
“July and August also moved accordingly, as Greece has proven to be one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Consequently, it is a very good year … but in any case, we will have a more clear picture at the end of the year.”