Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias expects 2023 to be a record year for tourism, with arrivals and travel receipts already on the rise, citing booking data and airline plans.
In a media interview, Kikilias claimed that the ministry’s plan, which has so far included extending the tourist season, starting the season earlier in March, signing agreements with airlines for off-season flights, and attracting investment in tourism, was successful. Kikilias emphasised the sector’s significance for the Greek economy, adding that it generates 25% of the nation’s GDP and provides employment for hundreds of families.
Data from the Hellenic Slot Coordination Authority, according to Kikilias, shows that aircraft arrivals are up 8.8% over 2022 and 16.1% over pre-Covid 2019.
The number of passenger seats is set to rise by 20 percent compared to 2022 and by 31 percent over 2019. “Based on the data, we are 20 percent above 2019 levels. Last year, we recouped 95 percent of 2019 revenue levels without the markets of China, Russia, Australia and Ukraine,” said Kikilias.
“Athens did not stop welcoming travelers even in the heart of winter. The 12-month campaigns run by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), the promotion of alternative destinations, thematic tourist products, and city breaks; and our agreements with airlines for direct flights off season, led to the extension of the tourist season. Greece now has tourism 10 months a year and the goal is to become a year-round destination,” he said.
Kikilias said regarding cruises, home porting activities are up by 38 percent compared to 2022 and passenger figures up by 15 percent. The Greek minister of Tourism also mentioned the importance of tourists from China and Australia, which have now opened to travel.