ATHENS – Greece is on a path to likely set tourism records in 2023 with the COVID-19 pandemic put behind and is one of the hottest spots in the world for visitors, the hordes coming including Americans who are spending big.
Travel receipts in the first quarter from January through March showed an intake of €732.9 million ($789.53 million) that was close to the record level of the same period in 2019, a year before the Coronavirus struck and almost shut down air travel.
The mark was only €27.1 million ($29.19 million) short of matching that but spring is booming and there were big pre-bookings for the summer although there’s been some blowback and cancellations after a New York Times story and video showing refugees being pushed back at sea.
The influx of American visitors encompasses the Greek diaspora, as the United States is home to a vibrant Greek community. Bank of Greece data confirms their propensity to spend generously during their visits., noted GTP Headlines.
Travel receipts in the January-March period increased by 63.8% compared to the same period in 2022. EU residents witnessed a 31.8% rise in receipts, reaching €318.7 million ($343.33 million), while non-EU nationals experienced a remarkable 102.2% surge, reaching €409.6 million ($441.25 million).
Americans showed a significant increase in spending, with a growth of 107.9%, amounting to €38.5 million ($41.47 million). Similarly, the French demonstrated a 17.1% rise, totaling €13.3 million ($14.33 million). Furthermore, March witnessed a remarkable 60.8% surge in arrivals compared to the previous year.
During the first three months of the year, Greece welcomed 1.87 million arrivals, marking a substantial increase of 74.7% compared to January-March 2022. The Tourism Ministry, focused on attracting year-round visitors, aims to exceed 30 million arrivals and generate over €20 billion ($21.55 billion) in revenue.
While the return of French and British tourists was notable, travel restrictions due to EU sanctions limited the arrival of Russian tourists, impacting their spending. Receipts from Russians declined by 46.6%, reaching only €3.2 million ($3.45 million). Additionally, the German market experienced a 3.5% decrease in revenues, totaling €63.3 million ($68.19 million), as reported in the study.