The South Aegean Region is playing a big part in Greece’s tourism success story this year despite the unfavorable environment created by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative said on Sunday.
Established in January 2021 by the regions governor, George Haztimarkos, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative is a body made up of tourism, trade and hotel stakeholders and their relevant associations and chambers.
According to the body, the passenger traffic of direct international flights to the airports of the islands of the Cyclades and Dodecanese has already exceeded the arrival numbers of the entire 2020 tourism season by more than 500,000.
Citing data of Fraport Greece and the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), the body said that by 22 August, 1,723,000 passengers had landed at five international airports of the South Aegean (Rhodes, Kos, Santorini, Mykonos and Karpathos) against 1,189,896 arrivals recorded at the same airports for the whole 2020 tourism season.
August proved to be a particularly dynamic time for Rhodes, as in just the first 20 days of the month the island attracted close to 290,000 direct international arrivals, bringing the total number of foreign visitors to 780,000. According to Fraport’s data, Rhodes had welcomed 584,415 visitors in 2020.
Kos also excelled in its tourism performance as by August 22 more than 387,000 passengers were recorded to have visited the island, surpassing last year’s total of direct international arrivals.
Moreover, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative referred to a “spectacular” recovery of Santorini and Mykonos in 2021, as arrivals to both islands have already almost doubled against last year’s figures.
More specifically, according to data from Fraport, until August 22 arrivals on Santorini were approaching 280,000 when last year the island had recorded just 141,472.
Respectively, more than 250,000 international passengers have already landed at Mykonos airport, which adds up to 120,000 more arrivals than the island saw last year.
With regard to Karpathos, the body said the island is seeing an increase of over 300 percent in international arrivals. Citing data from the HCAA, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative said that while Karpathos attracted only 8,237 arrivals via direct international flights in 2020, this year the island by August 22 saw its international passenger traffic exceed 27,500.
It is noted that the above data does not include passengers traveling through Athens International Airport (AIA) on domestic flights nor passengers using Greece’s ferry network.