The number of foreign visitors arriving by air from January to August was up 8.4 percent, reported the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP). This increase is more than double compared to Greece’s competitors in the Mediterranean. At the end of July, Croatia’s tourism was up 0.3 percent, Turkey’s was down -2.2 percent, Portugal’s up 5.5 percent and Spain’s was 3 percent.
This increased arrival rate is expected to continue for the rest of the year in the range of eight to ten percent.
The popular destinations, Crete and the Dodekanissos islands, experienced an increase of 10.6 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. These are very notable increases compared with last year’s numbers, 6.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
The northeast Aegean islands exceeded ten percent with Samos leading at 13.2 percent. The Ionian islands also experienced a small increase but still lag behind the other islands, with the exception of Kefalinia with an increase of +16%.
At five percent, northern Greece marked the lowest increase, but actual arrivals are likely higher because the study does not cover tourists arriving by road.
While this study only includes airport arrivals, it is a good indicator because last year 81 percent of Greece’s visitors came by airplane. Also, the study does not include the Athens International Airport because comparable statistics were not available for August. However, arrivals at this airport were up 6.8 percent in July.
The monthly report by the Attica Hotel Association (AHA) also indicated that Attica hotels enjoyed a greater occupancy rate, with five-star hotels at 64.2 percent, four-star hotels at 57.3 percent, three-stars at 74.7 percent and two-stars at 51.5 percent.
The AHA report also printed statements from the hotel associations of Chalkidiki and Laconia regarding the recent fires. The Chalkidiki association reported that none of the area hotels had been damaged and all were operating normally. Travel agencies interviewed said that there were no cancellations either.
The Laconia association stated that the area hotels are safe, the prefecture’s tourism program will continue normally with no cancellations reported.
Foreign Visitor Arrivals By Air January – August