For one more year tourist traffic to Greece accelerated with Greek destinations welcoming some 33 million visitors in 2018, a 9.7 percent increase against 2017 with the number of overnight stays up by 8.1 percent, according to the Bank of Greece’s final data for the performance of Greek tourism last year.
European travelers, stronger by 15.9 percent, and non-EU tourists, up by 14.2 percent, generated a total of 15,653 million euros in travel receipts in 2018.
Five regions in Greece were in the lead in terms of takings, accounting 88.1 percent of all receipts: South Aegean (4,414 million euros,), Crete (3,134 million euros), Attica (2,279 million euros), Central Macedonia (€2,275 euros) and the Ionian Islands (1,691 million euros). The same regions also accounted for 86.2 percent of total overnight stays.
The Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, Western Greece, Central Greece, the North Aegean and Western Macedonia accounted for 1,860 million euros of total 2018 tourism-related revenue.
The five most popular regional destinations in terms of visits were: Central Macedonia (7,830 thousand visits), the South Aegean (6,629 thousand), Attica (5,681 thousand), Crete (5,228 thousand) and the Ionian Islands (3,162 thousand), accounting for 81.9 percent of total visits.
With regard to cruise travel, according to data collected at 16 of the country’s ports handling 89.3 percent of all cruise ship arrivals, Greece welcomed 3,214 cruise liners compared to 3,271 in 2017.
The majority – 90.0 percent – of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, making an average 1.5 stopovers and generating 486 million euros in travel receipts in 2018 – up by 2.0 percent against the previous period.
Piraeus generated the largest share of cruise travel receipts at 43.7 percent of the total, followed by the ports of Corfu and Santorini with 15.7 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, The top seven cruise ship ports accounted for 92.4 percent of all cruise receipts and 87.1 percent of total cruise passenger visits.