Greece has enjoyed a record tourism season for 2016 following a period of comparative political stability. The country has attracted an increase in arrivals from all overseas markets including travellers who have avoided popular Mediterranean destinations such as Turkey and Egypt in lieu of recent attacks.
Provisional data provided by the Bank of Greece reveals that there has been a 1.3 percent increase in year-on-year visitors from all over the world, including 17.2million just in the first eight months of this year. Over the same period in 2015, there were 17 million visitors not including cruise passenger visitors.
Speaking at the World Travel Market in London, Greece’s alternate minister for tourism, Elena Kountoura, confirmed that it has indeed been a good year so far for the tourism sector, with it being up seven percent through to September when compared to the year before. She also added that the summer months have seen the most growth with numbers projected to surpass the 27 million mark.
This is a welcome boost to the country’s economy, which has been hit by a major debt crisis in recent years resulting in major international bailouts. With unemployment spiking to around 25 percent since 2008, this spark in tourism could just be the revenue Greece needs to recover and create jobs.
The Piraeus Port Authority has also revealed that cruise passenger arrivals are at an all-time high, registering a 17.42 per cent rise from the previous year. UK visitors make up the bulk of tourists with a 7.7 percent increase from around 1.8 million last year to 1.9 million in 2016 and recorded a massive 14 percent rise in August alone.
Visitors from Germany, Russia and the US have seen increases as well with growths of 10.6, 12.4 and five percent rises respectively. Director of the Greek National Tourism Organisation UK & Ireland Office, Christina Kalogera attributes these numbers to the financial and political stability that Greece has been enjoying of late.