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Tourism making a strong comeback in Greece

Tourism making a strong comeback in Greece

A dynamic recovery of the tourism sector close to the 2019 pre-pandemic levels is forecast by industry experts, with record arrivals and travel receipts.

The data also suggest the war in Ukraine no longer seems to be deterring Europeans, as well as Americans, from making reservations and traveling abroad. Moreover the planning of the big companies’ airline seats shows that they are preparing for a strong summer season.

Data from the European Travel Commission (ETC) indicate that the confidence index in the sector is reaching a new high, with three out of four Europeans planning to travel by September.

This recovery is also reflected in the data of the European Aviation Safety Agency (Eurocontrol), which show stable flight activity in Greece at a rate of 90% of 2019 for the period up to May 29. Currently the recovery is unfolding in the realm of city breaks, mainly in Attica.

On weekends, big five-star hotels in the center of the Greek capital have very high occupancy rates, on a par with those on the Athens Riviera. But as the distance from the center and the coastline increases, occupancy rates drop off significantly.

“The current average occupancy levels for year-round hotels are estimated at 50%,” according to industry officials in comments to Kathimerini. Also the short-term competitors of hotels are short-term rentals. Visitors from Germany, France and the US dominate arrivals, with a high average per capita expenditure per visit.

The outlook that tourism will recover almost 100% of the 2019 figures this summer is confirmed by an update by Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI AG, a group that controls the largest share of package holidays in Greece.

“We are sticking to our goal for the summer, which predicts that we will approach the levels of 2019 in all markets,” Joussen told Kathimerini, adding that he will bring more than 3 million visitors to Greece this year.

The buzz in the city center is palpable, with a liveliness not seen since the pre-pandemic years. Tellingly, according to data from the Organization for the Management and Development of Cultural Resources (ODAP), the number of visitors to the archeological sites is approximately two-thirds of 2019.