Greek tourism on track for record setting year
Despite successive heatwaves across the south of Europe in June and July, Greek tourism is on track for a record year, confirming the industry’s role as the driver of the country’s economy and helping Greece achieve one of the highest growth rates in Europe.
According to official Bank of Greece data, the country welcomed a total of 5.76 million international travelers in the first five months of 2023, 32.9% up from the same period in 2022. More recent data on international arrivals through Athens International Airport – a proxy for overall visitor numbers – show arrivals up 30% year-on-year in the seven months through July, and 8% above the same period in 2019, the previous record year.
“The momentum in spring, the first positive indications from summer bookings, and an improvement in consumer confidence in major markets, have set the stage for record arrivals in 2023,” said National Bank of Greece in a recent report. It projects that tourism revenues this year could surpass the previous 2019 record by 20% and reach €21 billion this year.
With its white washed island villages, plethora of world heritage sites and sunny Mediterranean climate, Greece is among the world’s Top 20 tourism destinations. Each year, the country welcomes some 30 million visitors and tourism accounts for roughly one-fifth of GDP and one in five jobs.
Over the last five years, Greece’s hospitality sector has welcomed a rush of investment with more than 150 new and refurbished hotels – most in the 4- and 5-star category − opening their doors around the country and including more than 60 in just Athens alone. According to Greek media reports, Greek short-term housing rentals have also seen a boom in visitors – both during the peak summer tourist season and after − making Greece one of the best performers among top European markets this year.