Record tourism arrivals in Greece continue in 2016

Greece has seen a 1.3 per cent increase in year-on-year arrivals from all overseas markets between January and August 2016, provisional data released by the Bank of Greece reports. 

Greece has rebounded strongly.
Greece has rebounded strongly.

In the first eight months of 2016 Greece welcomed a record number of overseas visitors totalling approximately 17.2 million compared to almost 17 million in the same period last year without including cruise passenger visitors.

The ‘Leisure Travel Monitor’ produced by the British arm of German-based analyst GfK measures outbound UK bookings through the whole of the travel agent shop market and through a defined read of direct bookings and has revealed a four per cent increase in UK holiday bookings to Greece in the year to September 2016 compared to 2015 while Greece’s islands experienced an increase in bookings of seven per cent overall.

Meanwhile, according to the analyst, bookings taken in September 2016 were up 13 per cent for Greece as a whole and 18 per cent for the Greek islands.

Crete, which is the most popular destination in Greece for British travellers in 2016 and had 19.4% of the market share according to GFK, saw a 13 per cent increase in passenger numbers, while Rhodes, which has a 17.9% share of the market, saw a 12 per cent growth in UK passenger numbers.

Moreover, Zante with a 16.7% of the market share saw a six per cent increase, while Corfu, which has a 15 per cent share of the market, saw an 8 per cent growth in UK passenger numbers.

According to the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), the number of cruise passengers in Greece between January and August 2016 was approximately 723,310 registering a 17.42 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2015.

In the year to August, Greece also saw a 7.7 per cent increase of arrivals from the UK, welcoming approximately 1.9 million UK visitors compared to 1.8 million in the same period last year, and a staggering 14 per cent increase in August alone.

During the same period, arrivals from Germany and Russia grew by 10.6 and 12.4 per cent respectively (two million and 395,000 visitors each), while visits from the US also increased by more than five per cent reaching 550,000 visitors.

Christina Kalogera, director of the Greek National Tourism Organisation UK & Ireland Office said: “2016 has seen the third consecutive year of growth in tourism to Greece from the UK. Financial and political stability have contributed to this growth, but continuing investment in the tourism product has resulted in a dynamic choice for discerning visitors.”

Based on figures supplied by Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority, international flight arrivals to Greece grew by almost seven per cent between January and August 2016, while provisional data for September also report an increase of arrivals by approximately eight per cent. In the year to September 2016, Kalamata, Aktio, Corfu, Santorini and Heraklion airports experienced some of the biggest increases in arrivals by approximately 23, 18, 13, 13 and 12 per cent respectively, while Athens airport saw a significant increase of arrivals by almost eight per cent. Athens International Airport also reported a strong 14.3 per cent increase in arrivals in September alone.

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