While total travel spending last year did not quite reach the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic, receipts from three of Greece’s key European markets increased by an average of nearly 10%.
Visitors from the UK, Germany, and France all increased their expenditure per capita, with sun-seeking Brits leading the charge on 21.8%, spending over 3.1 billion euros on their Greek travels, up from 2.5 billion in 2019.
The figures, released earlier this week by the Bank of Greece, show encouraging signs for 2023. And despite the collapse of the Russian and Ukrainian markets due to the ongoing war, it seems that the Greek travel industry is well on its way to a full recovery.
German tourists were among the biggest spenders last year, especially on the popular islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes. Travel receipts in 2022 amounted to 3.25 billion euros, compared to 2.95 billion in 2019 – an increase of 10%. Visitor numbers showed a big increase, too, totaling 4.35 million last year compared to just over 4 million in 2019, up by just over 8%.
Receipts from French tourists rose by nearly 16.5% on 2019 to nearly 1.3 billion euros, up from just over 1 billion. French visitor numbers also increased from just over 1.5 million in the last full year before the pandemic, to 1.75 last year.
The biggest increase, in both visitor numbers and spending per capita, came from the UK. Despite the challenging economic conditions at home, travel hungry Brits were determined not to miss out, swelling in number by nearly 30% – from just under 3.5 million visitors in 2019 to nearly 4.5 million last year.
The signs for 2023 bode well
As the Bank of Greece revels in the upbeat news from last year’s travel figures, German media has been busily reporting on the forecast for Greek tourism in 2023.
According to a recent report by RedaktionsNetzwek Deutschland (RND), cited in Deutsche Welle, the demand for holidays on the Greek islands is bigger than ever: “Due to the high demand, the offer on the Greek islands will expand further in 2023. Some holiday resorts in Greece are already 70% booked, and therefore vacationers have to face the fact that the most beautiful hotels and rooms have already disappeared.”
The same report urges people to explore options on the some of the smaller islands, including Samos, which is a good launch pad to visit nearby islands in the North Aegean.
German media is also quick to point out that “the tourist season is Greece will be longer this year, starting earlier than ever,” according to RND. Deutsche Welle also noted the 5% increase in the number of travelers arriving at Athens International Airport in the first month of this year, compared to January 2019, but also stressed that the Greek tourist industry, especially in hotels and restaurants, is facing a huge staffing shortage. “This year, even 80,000 job vacancies are predicted. Therefore, employers are asking the government for visa arrangements that will allow the employment of workers from non-EU Asian and Balkan countries,” it writes.
With information from ekathimerini.com.