WTM 2016: Greece hails ‘another great year’ as visitor numbers rise

Greece has seen a 1.3% increase in year-on-year arrivals from all overseas markets in 2016.

Provisional data released by the Bank of Greece reports between January and August this year the country welcomed a record number of international visitors, totalling at approximately 17.2 million.

This is compared to almost 17 million in the same period last year without including cruise passenger visitors.

Speaking at World Travel Market on Monday November 7, Greece’s minister for tourism Elena Kountoura said 2016 has been ‘another great year’ for Greek tourism and they only expected it to get better.

“The months June, July, August, September and Octobers were the best months ever for our tourism in Greece.

“We have spent a lot of time implementing our tourism plan. It took a lot of time, changes and turbulence but our efforts can be congratulated as we continue to grow, especially in UK travel market.

“Incredibly we have also seen our summer tourism months grow to being from March to November.

“Greece has so much to offer and it is priority to promote and showcase what our country has to offer.”

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% increase compared to the same period in 2015.

In the year to August, Greece also saw a 7.7% 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 14% increase in August alone.

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 by Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority, international flight arrivals to Greece grew by almost 7% between January and August 2016, while provisional data for September also report an increase of arrivals by approximately 8%.

In the year to September 2016, Kalamata, Aktio, Corfu, Santorini and Heraklion airports experienced some of the biggest increases in arrivals by approximately up to 23%.

Athens airport saw a significant increase of arrivals by almost 8% and Athens International Airport also reported a strong 14.3% increase in arrivals in September alone.

Early indications of bookings for 2017, until September 2016, reveal a year-on-year increase of 23%, with holiday packages up 23%, all-inclusive up 28% and self-catering up 19%.

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