Tourist arrivals to Rhodes are up by 6.5 percent compared to pre-pandemic 2019, said South Aegean Region Governor George Hatzimarkos welcoming Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias to the island this week for a Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) event.
“We’ve already left 2019 behind us. We’re moving forward with a rate of 13 percent above 2019 levels through to April 30 and a 6.5 percent increase until now in May,” said Hatzimarkos.
During their meeting, Kikilias and Hatzimarkos discussed the progress of tourism infrastructure projects, sustainable development initiatives, and ways to further promote the South Aegean islands.
Hatzimarkos also briefed the minister on the progress of the roadway network to the island’s Diagoras Airport which is almost complete.
“The South Aegean Region and its islands are the cornerstone of our efforts. We aspire to have the island full with tourists until the end of the season in November… and to ensure they get a unique experience,” said Kikilias.
“The tourism industry contributes 25 percent directly or indirectly to the country’s GDP. One in four euros goes into the Greek economy and much more to the South Aegean Region economy,” Kikilias said, adding that “everyone deserves a share in the success of the sector”.
“One of the reasons we are receiving such tourist flows today is because we created a sense of confidence during the pandemic,” said Hatzimarkos, attributing the success to the effective management of the coronavirus crisis and to the country’s improved reputation for safety.
“We have a wonderful tourist year ahead of us. If we all do our best to address the challenges, offer our visitors the best possible experience, showcase our country, people will return to destinations that continue to upgrade on all levels,” he said.
According to data provided by the South Aegean Tourism Initiative (SATI), last week, tourist arrivals to the South Aegean Region, which includes such popular islands as Rhodes, Kos, Santorini, Mykonos, and Karpathos, surpassed pre-Covid-19 levels in the period to April 30.