Indications are growing that this year Greek tourism will come close to matching the travel receipts of the record year 2019. However, there also are the first worrying signs, mainly from flight cancellations caused by the failure of airlines and airports to manage the rapidly recovering air traffic in the post-Covid era.
Those concerns, for the time being, have not overshadowed the data: According to the Bank of Greece (BoG), travel receipts in the first four months of 2022 came to 86.6% of those in the corresponding period of 2019. In the same period, the average cost per trip increased by 20.3%. This is a particularly encouraging development for both the revenue and quality of inbound tourism.
In part, this picture is emerging from the shifts in the mix of markets where Greece is most attractive: BoG data render clear the recovery of visits from the US and the large increase in receipts from countries such as France, where there was an increase of 50% compared to 2019. Receipts in the four months of this year are also 18% higher compared to the corresponding period of 2019 from visitors from Germany too. Countries with lower average travel expenses, such as those from Eastern Europe, have less or even negligible participation in the Greek market, following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
Passenger traffic came to only 73% of that in the first four months of 2019. Especially for April, however, revenues exceeded those of 2019, obviously assisted by the timing of Western Easter. Travel receipts from abroad in April this year amounted to 647 million euros, compared to €543.5 million in April 2019. That is €103.5 million or almost 20% more.
The momentum of this year’s recovery so far is more impressive when compared with last year: In January-April 2022, travel receipts increased by 576.7% compared to the corresponding period of 2021 and amounted to €1.116 billion.
Incoming tourist traffic in the January-April 2022 period increased by 462.7% and amounted to 2.128 million travelers compared to 378,300 travelers in the corresponding period of 2021.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.