British, French, German Visitors Propelled Greece’s 2022 Tourism Comeback

February 22, 2023

ATHENS – While Americans returned in droves in 2022 as the COVID-19 pandemic waned, Greece’s near-record tourism year was boosted more by visitors from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said a surge in revenues generated from visitors from those countries showed the lure of Greece, said SchengenVisaInfo.com after the New Democracy government eased health restrictions.

Kikilias cited data from the Bank of Greece (BoG) for the year, based on travel receipts that showed UK visitors were up 21.8 percent, from France by 16.4 percent, and Germany by 10 percent.

He said campaigns to get people to keep coming year round and not just the summer season peak period offering sun, sand, islands, and beaches was paying off as attractions offered everything from golf to health and wellness and history.

The central bank data showed that tourists spent some 17.6 billion euros ($18.71 billion) and that was some 2.6 billion euros ($2.76 billion) more than originally estimated, providing enough revenue to help subsidize soaring energy costs.

He noted that American airlines added 63 weekly direct flights to Athens and kept them going longer during the year, and will start in March in 2023 when early spring arrivals are expected to be high.

The bank data also showed that the number of foreign visitors increased by 89.3 percent and receipts by a total of 67.9 percent year-on-year, a rise of 88.8 percent and 97 percent of the pre-pandemic levels.

Kikilias also said that Greece had its highest air passenger traffic recovery, and that’s expected to continue in 2023. The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) earlier said there’s keen interest from Belgians.

Greece is also expected to benefit from visitors from nearby Balkan States whose citizens can drive, although Greece, unlike other European Union countries, has only limited train service. Road visitors from the Balkans are seen rising 40 percent.

Although Greece’s tourism in 2022 just missed setting a record, the comeback was big enough to rate among the top destinations in Europe said the European Travel Commission (ETC).

Based on findings in the ETC’s European Tourism: Trends and Prospects report for the fourth quarter of the year, Greece was among the countries recording the fastest recovery compared to pre-pandemic 2019, said GTP Headlines.

According to ETC analysts one in two destinations recovered more than 80 percent of their pre-COVID foreign arrivals with destinations in the southern Mediterranean posting the fastest recovery as the year ended.

Greece is looking toward another big year in 2023 and has also targeted Asia for potentially more travelers.

The Hellenic-Thai Chamber of Commerce participated at a presentation of Greece as a tourist destination, given by a delegation of Greek travel agents, with some 50 Thai agencies being briefed, said Travel Daily News.

Alexandra Christodoulea, Economic & Commercial Counsellor for the Greek Embassy in Bangkok, told them that, “both our counties are famous for their unique landscape, their pristine beaches and lovely weather, their gastronomy and diverse cuisine, their culture and hospitality. With so much in common, we definitely can achieve better cooperation in the field of tourism and increase significantly our presence in the tourist markets.”

The Chairman of the Hellenic-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thanasis Tsepisis, addressed the participants presenting the role of HTCC in supporting Thai and Greek companies which want to do business together, the report also said.



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