On the back of strong tourist flows from abroad in April, the South Aegean Region saw arrivals in the first half of May exceed pre-pandemic 2019 levels, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative (SATI) said this week.
More specifically, the region’s five main airports – those of Rhodes, Kos, Santorini, Karpathos, and Mykonos – handled a total of 242,344 arrivals over the May 1-15 period compared to 230,201 in 2019.
Earlier this month, SATI said arrivals at five of the region’s key airports increased over the four-month period to April 30 by 13.07 percent compared to 2019, with more than 200,000 passengers on 1,300 international flights, reflecting a strong demand for the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands.
Local tourism stakeholders attribute the positive performance to the successful management of the pandemic and the sense of security attached to Greece’s reputation.
Indicatively, in the first 15 days of May, Santorini airport recorded the largest increase compared to 2019 up 23 percent to 32,947 passengers compared to 26,714 in the corresponding period in 2019.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals on Rhodes were up by 6.5 percent compared to pre-crisis 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.
Overall, according to SATI data, the five main South Aegean Region airports have welcomed almost half a million travelers from the beginning of the year to May. Top source markets are the UK, Germany, and Italy.
Established in 2021 on the initiative of Hatzimarkos, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative (SATI) is made up of tourism, trade and hotel stakeholders and their relevant associations and chambers.