ATHENS – It already looks like 2023 will be a gangbusters year for tourism in Greece, the country’s biggest revenue engine, and now the push is turning toward Asia and trying to lure more Chinese and Australians.
With China allowing people to travel again after a resurgence of COVID-19 that began there and put the world on hold with lockdowns for more than two years, Greece is trying to persuade them to come.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said the Australians will be coming back too after they were kept out of international travel under strict health measures after Greece in 2022 lifted its restrictions.
Speaking to Real FM radio he noted that the tourism season began March 11 with direct flights – with more added from the United States – and seats filling fast for island hops in the Aegean and to Crete.
He said campaigns to get people to come year-round had been effective instead of just featuring summer and islands, beaches, sun and sand, also focusing on attractions ranging from skiing to hiking, wellness and sports.
He said he also expects a 20 percent increase in cruise ships with the Chinese company COSCO which operates the port of Piraeus further making improvements to bring in vessels packed with tourists, ready to spend.