September 22, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The Guardian on Greek tourism: ‘Everything shows it’s going to be a very good year’

The prestigious British publication The Guardian notes the successful recovery of the Greek tourism sector, despite the war in Ukraine.

The newspaper notes that for the first time since 2019, when 33 million tourists visited Greece, things are going so well:

“Street musicians take to the streets, hotels and archaeological sites are crowded, shopkeepers smile and good luck if you’re looking for a table in a decent restaurant.”

The publication notes that the recovery of the sector in a country heavily dependent on tourism surprised even optimists – after all, the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences led to a reduction in revenue from 18.2 billion euros in 2019 to 4 billion in 2020 and 10 billion last year. But this season, despite the unexpected shadow of war following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all evidence points to a recovery in the tourism sector.

For the first time since 2019, cruise ships are once again docking at Greek ports, proving travelers want to put the pandemic behind them, industry leaders say. The booking of air tickets has also increased. Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias notes:

“The season started earlier than ever. The first direct flight from the US, a key market for the Greek economy, took place on 7 March. This is a vote of confidence for our country.”

Andreas Andreadis, CEO of the successful luxury hotel group Sani/Ikos, told The Guardian:

“All the omens are positive. In the weeks after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, demand fell, but since the end of March it has increased and is now excellent. The truth is that there aren’t many options when it comes to quality destinations.”

The publication recalls that last week Greece announced: restrictions imposed due to the pandemic are removed from May 1 and will be reviewed in September. Guardian notes that the decision to open the tourist season early seems to have paid off: bookings started at Easter. Airlines are vying to secure more flights to Greece this summer, while the tourism minister says 765 cruise ships want to call at various ports and popular island destinations like Mykonos, Kos and Corfu are already drawing big crowds. Evgenios Vasilikos, Vice President of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers, says:

“All the research confirms that people don’t just want to travel, they need to travel. Everything shows that this will be a very good year.”

By 2023, Athens will have 5,000 more hotel rooms compared to 2019, when the capital, previously shunned by island-bound tourists, was able to attract 5 million guests. The investment frenzy, manifesting itself in a boom in construction projects that are reshaping downtown Athens, is also indicative of the hopes business leaders have for the resurgence of Greece’s “heavy industry.”

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