A record number of daily flights from America have been planned for this year by US-based airlines, with the first flight by Delta, which took place yesterday, March 8, earlier than any previous season. These flights have been launched because both companies and tour operators are expecting a record number of American travelers this year, despite the crisis in Ukraine.
The US ambassador to Greece was there to greet the Delta flight at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in a special ceremony. Given that American tourists have the highest per capita spending power per trip, verifying these forecasts may comfortably offset the projected decline in travel from Eastern European countries, especially Russia and Ukraine, and possibly Poland.
Speaking to Kathimerini, Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias noted that “with nine direct flights a day from seven American airports to six cities in Greece, the emphasis we place on the US market is very important to us. The start of flights by an American air carrier earlier than previous years is an unquestionable vote of confidence in our country and in Greek tourism in general.”
“We are working on all target markets in order to overcome what will likely be another challenging year. These positive figures will contribute to the development of the Greek economy and the prosperity of the average Greek family,” he added.
For his part, US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt said yesterday at Athens International Airport that “this is just the beginning, we will have a record number of direct flights from the United States this year” and is optimistic “that we will see a record number of American tourists to Greece over the next eight, nine months.”
In 2019, there were 1.179 million American visitors who spent 1.188 billion euros in Greece. Last year, traffic from the US increased by 271.6% to 396,000 travelers compared to 106,600 in 2020.
Research in the major European markets carried out after the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also optimistic, with Europeans still intending to travel abroad for spring and summer vacations. Nevertheless, bookings to Greek hotels, which started well this year, have temporarily frozen as potential travelers mainly evaluate the ongoing developments in the economy and the impact on their disposable income.
The mindset of Europeans has not yet shown signs of deteriorating since the war in Ukraine: “Our estimates of travel demand for the coming period remain optimistic as Europeans continue to plan for their spring and summer holidays despite the very negative conditions created by the war in Ukraine, and now to a lesser extent the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In any case, we are following the developments very closely as the international environment will continue to be fragile,” said Theofilos Kyratsoulis, General Manager of Mindhaus, a tourism marketing company that has researched travel to 10 major European markets from September 2020, on behalf of the European Travel Commission.
“As far as Greece is concerned, the strong brand of the country, the partial lifting of travel restrictions, but also the very high levels of satisfaction in 2021 enhance the positive prospects for a good season,” he added.
This article was previously published in Greek at moneyreview.gr.