Average spending per tourist in Greece over the first nine months of the year was 25% higher than in 2020 and slightly more compared to the same period in 2019, Bank of Greece data show.
This has multiplied the benefits of the rebound of tourism this year, which – after slumping 76.5% in 2020 – managed to recover 54.3% of arrivals in the record-breaking 2019, according to Civil Aviation Authority data for January-October.
The central bank revealed on Monday that average spending per trip to Greece in the year to end-September amounted to 746 euros, compared to €594 over the same period in 2020, and €583 in January-September 2019.
Projections made by economists, provided there is no dramatic plunge in tourism numbers in November and December, indicate that travel receipts could well rise to €12 billion this year, or 65-68% of those in 2019, which reached €18.2 billion. That was Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias’ estimate too, although it is possible that the advent of the fourth wave of the pandemic could scupper that forecast.
The BoG reported a 139.3% annual increase, or €5.09 billion, in travel receipts during the first nine months of the year, as they reached €8.758 billion.
In any case, this year’s tourism rebound has been impressive: The aviation authority figures showed passenger traffic in October alone soared 118.1% from the same month last year, while incoming traffic from abroad increased 126.9% from October 2020.
The total statistics from all of the country’s airports for January-October show a 69% increase from 2020, with passengers numbering 32,057,627, against 18,967,841 in the first 10 months last year.
The number of flights at Greek airports amounted to 339,187, of which 138,344 were domestic and 200,843 international. That constitutes year-on-year growth of 45.9% from last year’s 232,442 flights. However, compared with 2019, flights are down 29.2%.
October was exceptionally positive for Greek tourism, as it only lagged the 2019 arrivals at airports by 10.1%, and total passenger traffic at Greek airports was just 11.6% short of the high of 5,650,541 recorded in 2019. The question now is whether this momentum can be maintained now that new restrictions are in place in other countries.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.