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Tourism

Greece Expects 1 Million Tourists in August First Week, Big 2022

ATHENS – There’s just no stopping tourists from pouring into Greece as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, a record year seen coming and with one million more expected in the first week of August alone.

European vacations are cheap for Americans now with the euro falling to parity or even below the dollar after as many as 500,000 or more were predicted coming, including the important Diaspora community.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said that in July, incoming international flights brought in more than 950,000 people, overflowing the country from the mainland to islands, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported, the pandemic essentially set aside as the New Democracy government pushes economic recovery.

He said the signs of a big year were showing in May when tourism revenues passed 500 million euros ($508.36 million,) a jump of 26 million euros ($26.44 million) from the same month in the record year of 2019.

The strike of the COVID pandemic in 2020 brought that to a halt but people are traveling again, creating chaos at some airports where staff and airlines can’t handle the numbers, and they are spending big whey land.

The turnover of businesses in the catering sector has increased by 40 million euros ($40.67 million) compared to the same period of 2019 even though the tourism sector is short 50,000 workers.

“These figures show, in practice, that money from tourism flows directly into the real economy. This is very important to support the average Greek business, the workers in the sector and all those professions connected – directly or indirectly – with our tourism product, from hotels and accommodation, trade, the primary sector and our farmers, to the construction industry,” said Kikilias.

He said the favored destinations for visitors, besides the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki, are the islands of the southeast Aegean and the Cyclades, Crete and Corfu especially, with Santorini and Mykonos among big draws.

He said Greece will try to lure tourists through the autumn and year round with other offerings besides sun, sand, beaches and islands, a plan which began with some success in 2021.

“We invite all Northern Europeans, Scandinavians, and, of course, Germans who wish to spend the difficult – due to the energy crisis – winter in Greece. We offer them a mild climate, organized hotel businesses and shops of health interest, quality infrastructure and a unique experience. These are, after all, tourists who – anyway – choose our country for holidays until the end of November. Why, then, should they not do it for the rest of the winter months as well?” he said.

 

 

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