It’s official. Greece, for the second year in a row, managed a substantial rise in its tourism arrivals. According to data from 12 Greek airports, which represent 90% of all air arrivals and 75% of all arrivals, the country welcomed 6.33% more visitors during the first half of this year when compared with the same period last year.
Increases last year and this year follow four difficult years for the sector. Tourism professionals say Greece received this major boost in arrivals thanks to the success of the Athens Olympics in 2004, as well as from an extensive advertising campaign within Greece’s major tourism markets abroad, which was carried out by the Ministry for Tourism Development and the Greek National Tourism Organization.
According to recent data from the National Statistics Services, some 14 million foreigners visited Greece last year, which accounts for more than a 5% increase against the year before. A slightly higher increase is expected for all of this year.
The service says that last year’s hotel and camping arrivals rose by some 10.56%, while overnights increased by 5.6% when compared with 2004. It noted that 6.1 million of these arrivals were Greeks, while 7.3 million were visitors from outside the country. This would appear to mean that just a little over 50% of foreign arrivals stayed at hotels while the remainder chose rented rooms and apartments.
Greek tourism professionals around the country say that although the some five percent more tourists that visited Greece last year is mainly attributed to the success of the Olympic Games, they expect to see a further increase this year thanks to the positive word-of-mouth promotion by last year’s visitors to Greece and the strong government advertising campaign undertaken by government last year.
Professional analysts within the sector also estimate that there will be a substantial increase in the number of tourists visiting Greece for the second year in a row. This comes after successive decreases in visitor numbers from 2001-2004.
Between May and October, about 18 million people, Greeks and foreigners alike, holiday in Greece.
The tourism industry accounts for 18 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than 700,000 people. Some 13.5 million visitors spend around 11 billion euros each year.