Greek tourism is going strong, marking some 30 million tourist arrivals in 2016, according to tentative figures released by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) on Wednesday.
A total of 16.87 million passengers went through Greece’s main airports in 2016, up by 9 percent compared to 15.47 million in 2015, and much higher than SETE’s initial estimates of 5-6 percent, with tourism professionals citing increased air traffic as the leading cause.
December was a crucial month recording growth by 14.6 percent in the number of arrivals through the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania and Rhodes.
Road arrivals also increased in the last three months of the year, up by 0.6 percent to 12.05 million against 11.97 million in 2015.
Together with road arrivals the total number of incoming traffic comes to 29 million against 27.5 million a year before.
Sector professionals, however, are reserved in their response, saying that despite the record number of arrivals incoming revenue is not on a par. According to Bank of Greece figures for the first nine months of 2016, losses amounted to 1 billion euros down by 7.9 percent to 12.8 billion, adding that the improved number of arrivals in the last four months of the year are unlikely to limit the losses.
Meanwhile, in its category, Heraklion airport handled the highest rate of passenger traffic in 2016 at over 6.8 million passengers, an increase of 13.3 percent. Corfu airport came second at 2.8 million passengers, up by 14.4 percent and Paros airport a total of 74,344 passengers up by 72.2 percent.