Greece Third Favorite European Choice for Vacationing Americans

Kastelorizo Island, Greece. Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis

ATHENS – Expecting more US tourists this year after some disappointing previous years, Greece is their third favorite choice in Europe.

That was the finding from the Long-Haul Travel Barometer of the European Travel Commission (ETC) which also said that 82 percent of Americans prefer Mediterranean destinations.

Americans are the second biggest travelers in the world behind China and in 2015 took some 74 million trips and spent $113 billion doing it.

Italy is the first choice in the Mediterranean for US travelers and second in Europe behind France. In the Mediterranean, Spain is second.

Already expecting another record year, Greece estimates that as many as 900,000 Americans will join the hordes flocking to the country in 2017.

The US market will be bringing more tourists and more revenues to Greece this year, the President of the Hellenic American Chamber of Tourism (HACT), George Trivizas said.

Trivizas said that the number of Americans expected to visit Greece this year will rise more than 120,000 from 2016 with an economic crisis not keeping visitors away from the country’s lures.

Revenues from US visitors are set to revert to growth after the 22.8 percent annual decline recorded in 2016, seen jumping to 727.9 million euros, about $780.13 million.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) asked HACT and tourism consultants MTC Group to see whether its Destination Expo 2018 conference could be held in Athens next year.

The Greek capital is facing competition from Hanoi, Malta, Aqaba and Tel Aviv. The selection will be made ahead of the ASTA conference in June in Washington. MTC head Notis Martakis said he thinks Athens will win.