Recent statistics for Greece state that the country witnessed a surge in tourist numbers from the UAE. For the period from January – September 2014, the destination recorded a 27% rise in UAE travellers as compared to the same period in 2013.
The factors for increased UAE tourists can be attributed to better understanding of the destination, easy accessibility and varied tourism options from sightseeing to shopping. Just Etihad alone has carried over 400,000 passengers from Abu Dhabi to Athens since 2009.
Further figures from Bank of Greece indicate that Greece welcomed 10.5 million foreign visitors from January to July, generating a 14% increase in travel receipts to EUR6.68 billion. The main markets of growth remained the United States up 28.5% with 293,000 visitors and France, up 19.4%.
Alexandros Vassilikos, president of Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel Association, a shareholder of Marketing Greece, said: “The number increase corresponds to about 390,000 additional hotel overnight stays and translates to EUR142.8 m for Athens’ real economy, that is hotels, stores, restaurants and bars, municipal rates, taxes and intermediaries among others.”
With a positive growth trend, the Greek Tourism Confederation expects 2014 arrivals to reach 21.5 million, including cruise passengers, up from the total 20.1 mn travellers. Direct tourism earnings are also anticipated to total EUR14 bn, up from EUR12.2 bn in 2013.