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Athens’ Cultural Sites, Covid-19 Safety Measures Attract Visitors in 2021

Photo source: @Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association

Athens’ cultural sites and Covid-19 health and safety measures were among the reasons why leisure travelers chose to visit the Greek capital in 2021, according to data presented during an online press event on Tuesday by Athens International Airport (AIA) and the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association.

The association’s “17th Survey on Guest Satisfaction and Hotel Performance in Attica” conducted by GBR Consulting, found that Greek and foreign travelers were attracted mainly by Athens’ archaeological sites and culture (46 percent).

Thirty-five percent considered Athens a “must-see” destination, while 22 percent said the city was easily accessible.

For 20 percent of respondents Athens was a transit point.

In addition, 20 percent of travelers considered Athens a safe destination to visit amid the coronavirus pandemic. The percentage was at 43 percent in 2020.

The overall satisfaction score of Athens reached 8.1/10 points in 2021 compared to 8.2 in 2020.

Photo: Shutterstock

According to data provided by AIA, in 2021, Athens welcomed a total of 12.35 million passengers, up by 52.8 percent over 2020 figures but still down by 51.7 percent compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

Domestic passengers exceeded 2020 levels by 52.8 percent and international passengers by 52.9 percent but lagged well behind 2019 levels by 40.6 percent and 56.6 percent, respectively.

Moreover, 55 percent of foreign travelers stayed in Athens, compared to 68 percent in 2019.

Most foreign travelers came from Greece’s traditional source tourism markets, namely Germany, the US, the UK, France and Italy.

Vaccination certificate first option for traveling

A Greek police officer scanning the EU Digital COVID Certificate of a passenger, upon her arrival at Athens International Airport. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

A Greek police officer scanning the EU Digital COVID Certificate of a passenger, upon her arrival at Athens International Airport. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

During the press event, AIA and the association presented the results of a travel experience survey conducted during July – December 2021 on a sample of 6,481 foreign air travelers.

The survey found that 90 percent of international travelers entered Greece with a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate, 8 percent presented a negative PCR test result while only 2 percent traveled with a Covid-19 recovery certificate.

Athens scores high for Covid-19 protocols

International travelers were also asked to evaluate Greece’s Covid-19 travel protocols. According to the survey’s findings:

43 percent of foreign travelers were well-informed about Greece’s safety measures. Only 8 percent said they were not informed

70 percent evaluated Greece’s travel protocols (documents, PLF form, tests) as “very easy” to comply with. Only 1 percent found it “difficult”

45 percent said the Covid testing requirement for their return to the destination of residence had not affected their decision to travel to Athens. However, 20 percent said it had significantly affected their decision

58 percent said they felt safe in Athens’ accommodation facilities

64 percent of travelers said their experience was better or much better than expected

59 percent would definetly visit the city again, while 40 percent will probably return to Athens in the future.

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About the Author
Eleftheria has worked for several financial newspapers, magazines and websites during the past 19 years. Between 2004 and 2014 she worked as a radio producer, reporter and presenter for the Greek and English language program of “Athina 9.84 FM”. She also has hands-on experience in the MICE industry.

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