Passenger numbers at Athens International Airport (AIA) in January continued the successful course of the previous year, at 1.2 million, recent data showed.
According to AIA, passenger numbers rose by a total of 10.4 percent compared with the same month last year.
Although domestic travellers presented a small decline of -1.8 percent, due to the reduction of the offered capacity in the domestic flights, international passengers demonstrated a strong growth of 18.5 percent, formulating the overall outcome.
Greek travellers showed an impressive growth of almost 19 percent, whereas foreign travellers remained at prior-year levels.
The number of flights to Athens Airport in January amounted to 11,898, recording an increase of 3.9 percent. Domestic flights remained at 2016 levels (-0.2 percent) while international flights showed a significant rise to the level of 7,1 percent.
SETE: Rise in arrivals not due to tourists
Speaking to Greek media Kathimerini recently, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, reversed the picture on foreign arrivals, adding the factor of the emigration of Greeks in recent years.
According to Andreadis, over 500,000 Greeks who have left Greece for financial reasons visit the country once or twice a year, amounting to some 1-2 million arrivals per annum.
“The rise in Athens Airport arrivals last month was mainly due to them and not foreign tourists”, he told Kathimerini.