Tourism in Greece continued to be a saving grace during the COVID-19 pandemic and fulfilled hopes visitors would keep coming even after the end of summer with a rise in arrivals in October.
Citing civil aviation data, the news agency Reuters said there was a more than 100 percent increase that month from the big drop in 2020 as the pandemic raged, registering 1,683,723 in arrivals, from 741,932 a year earlier when restrictions held down international travel.
Tourism accounts for as much as 18-20 percent of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 177.86 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and is the biggest revenue engine, in a record number of consecutive years through 2019 before the pandemic struck.
Greece took a leap in faith in allowing tourists to begin coming in the spring and it paid off, registering up to 75 percent of the 2019 arrivals, more than than the 50 percent that was hoped.
Overall traffic at Greek airports was up 69 percent for the 10 months to October at around 32 million passengers, but it was still down 45.7 percent versus the same period in 2019 before the pandemic struck, the data showed, the news agency said.