International arrivals at Greece’s South Aegean Region, which includes popular islands such as Rhodes, Kos, Santorini, and Mykonos, exceeded pre-Covid-19 levels in the first 10 days of July by 25 percent, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative (SATI) announced on Monday.
According to the tourism body, post-Covid-19 arrivals at the South Aegean islands are hitting an all-time high, turning this month into the “best July ever” for the region.
SATI cites Greece’s successful management of the pandemic as the cause of success with tourist levels now exceeding record year 2019 levels,
Citing Fraport data, SATI said Rhodes welcomed 173,205 arrivals up by 18 percent in the first 10 days of July compared to 146,605 in the same period in 2019. Kos welcomed 83,667 visitors in the same period under review up by 13 percent over 2019 and 73,766.
Mykonos reported 49,713 international arrivals up by 37 percent over 2019 and 36,281 and Santorini broke all records with a 62 percent increase and 58,071 tourists over the first 10 days in July 2019 and 35,799 visitors.
At the same time, according to SATI data, a total of 2,403 flights touched down at airports in the region in the first 10 days of July, with Rhodes welcoming an average of 106 aircraft per day, 54 on Kos, 35 on Mykonos, and 40 on Santorini.
Overall, through to July, the South Aegean Region has welcomed 2,046,335 international arrivals on 13,006 direct flights, SATI said, adding that the tourism season is only now beginning to peak.
June tourist traffic to the South Aegean islands was also up by 13 percent over 2019, SATI said.
In terms of source markets in June, arrivals from the UK are in the lead on Rhodes and Santorini, from Germany on Kos, and from Italy on Mykonos.
Minister: ‘It’s a very strong year indeed’
Commenting on the news, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Alpha Channel that an overall increase of about 24 percent on average was marked in the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands compared to the corresponding period in pre-pandemic July 2019.
“It’s a very strong year indeed,” said Kikilias, reiterating that the upward trend was a result of hard work.
The minister added that other lesser-known destinations, “which are now finally dynamically on the tourist map”, were also seeing increasing arrival rates.
Lastly, Kikilias said he expected international tourist arrivals into December, later than any other tourism season.
The South Aegean Tourism Initiative is an initiative of the region’s governor, George Hatzimarkos, and consists of tourism, trade and hospitality professionals and their relevant associations and chambers.