Incoming traffic through Greece’s main airports escalated in the first eight months of the year up by 6.5 percent or by an additional 753,000 arrivals, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) said on Wednesday.
At the same time, tourism arrivals via road for the January-August 2016 period dropped by 3.8 percent or down by 322,000 arrivals against the same period last year.
Crete, the Ionian and Cyclades islands took the lead in August with international arrivals up by 10.7 percent, 11 percent and 10.6 percent respectively, compared to the same month in 2015.
Athens and Thessaloniki also performed well in August, welcoming an additional 6.4 percent and 7.1 percent of tourists respectively, with the islands at the forefront of the refugee crisis — Kos, Samos and Mytilini (Lesvos) — seeing incoming traffic plummet at 15.1 percent, 26.1 percent and 59.5 percent respectively.
SETE has expressed optimism that August’s last-minute travelers will help Greece reach its 2016 target: a 6 percent rise compared to 2015. At the same time however, tourism professionals are not expecting the same positive results in turnover as spending per trip has dropped significantly. According to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data released on Tuesday, the hospitality and food services sectors saw a significant drop in earnings in the first half of the year.
At the end of September, the Bank of Greece is expected to release data concerning the country’s tourism revenue during the January-July period. “This will give us a clearer picture of the whole year”, SETE said.