Incoming tourism to Greece continues to be strong despite the political and financial turmoil this year, but domestic tourism is shrinking, the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) found in its latest report released on Monday.
ITEP estimates that incoming tourism will continue is upward trend in 2016 and added that despite the negative impact of capital controls and bad media portrayals in July, the trend was reversed in August and September with the number of German and American holidaymakers growing by 30 percent. On the downside, the number of Russian travelers dropped by more than 60 percent in the first half of 2015, impacting tourism in Northern Greece and the Aegean islands.
According to Bank of Greece data, arrivals of foreign tourists grew by 20.7 percent, overnight stays by 14.7 percent and tourism receipts by 10.2 percent. The report indicates, however, that despite the growing number of arrivals, spending and the number of overnight stays dwindled.
In the meantime, a number of holidaymakers opted for the islands of the North Aegean, where the number arrivals grew in 2014 by 21.5 percent (from 1.6 percent in 2013). Mytilini airport saw a 40.5 percent increase and Samos an 18.2 percent rise.
Athens airport reported a 29.5 percent surge in the number of arrivals in 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
On the downside, domestic tourism slowed down with ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistical Authority) figures showing the number of overnight stays by Greeks decreasing by 23 percent compared to 2008. Favorite destinations for Greek vacationers were Central Macedonia. A Eurobarometer 2015 report found that 27 percent of Greeks surveyed said they would not go on holiday, while 74 percent said they would vacation somewhere in Greece.