ATHENS – With the COVID-19 pandemic all but forgotten and health restrictions long lifted, Greece is on track to break tourism records in 2023 and could see more than 31 million visitors spending big.
Bank of Greece data showed that 17.91 billion euros ($19.59 billion) was taken in through September after a big summer that saw a slew of celebrities, movie stars and people around the world pouring in.
The first nine months easily busted the 15.5 billion euros ($16.96 billion) that tourism brought in 2022 when the health conditions were eased to attract visitors, which worked, but brought worries there were too many coming.
Infrastructure on some popular islands has struggled to deal with the numbers along with insufficient doctors and health staff on some others even as the Tourism Ministry is urging year-round visitors.
The previous record year of 2019, before COVID hit early in 2020, saw 16.1 billion euros ($17.61 billion) in tourism revenues before the next two years of lockdowns, slowdowns and limited international travel as well.
This year, September alone saw a 12.8 percent increase over the same month in 2019 and 2023 has brought a year-on-year increase of 11.3 percent over 2022 with indications that tourists will keep coming into the winter.