ΑΤΗΕΝS – The emergence of the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 put the brakes on more tourists coming to Greece in November and December but in the first 10 months of 2021 the number almost doubled from the lockdown year of 2020.
Figures from the Bank of Greece, cited by SchenvisaInfo said the Germans were the big spenders and that the average expenditure per trip jumped 23.7 percent, a gamble for Greece to open to tourists in July paying off big time according to Greece Travel Pages.
Earlier data from the Greek Policy Aviation (CAA) showed that passenger traffic skyrocketed 344.2 percent over the previous year when there was almost no international travel, vaccines and strict health measures in place.
The bank’s figures showed in the first 10 months that tourism brought in 9.3 billion euros ($10.51 billion) in a critical boost for an economy slowly recovering from the lingering pandemic, a 3.5 billion euro ($3.95 billion) jump.
Greece’s tourism ministry had just announced plans to try to lure people to keep coming year round but the hopes for the winter appear dim with Omicron sweeping the country and air traffic limited yet again.
Still, the year up to November brought in 4 billion euros ($4.52 billion) more than expected.
Following the Germans, visitors from the United Kingdom were the biggest spenders, up 91 percent to 1.4 billion euros ($1.58 billion) and then the French and that spending by Americans rose 632.1 percent to 588 million ($664.37) as they were allowed to come again.
The number of American tourists rose by 265.9 percent, including the crucial sector from the Diaspora there, while for Russians the increase was 286.4 percent. Greece also had the highest number of overnight stays, only 19 percent below compared to the record year of 2019.