Athens is a top global tourist destination, Mykonos is underperforming - What do the official figures show?

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Tourist receipts reached 1.5 billion euros from the beginning of the year up to April, a 15% increase compared to 1.3 billion euros in 2019, New Money reported. According to tourism operators and traders, Athens has emerged as the big winner so far, surpassing the pre-pandemic numbers.

Opposite to Athens, data from airports, accommodations and merchants shows that Mykonos is lagging behind in performance compared to the rest of the popular Greek destinations for this year.

The Greek capital even looks like it will continue its positive streak into the summer, if we take into account the data from abroad, which includes it in the top 10 city destinations around the world with the most online searches for travel this summer (1 July – August 31).

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Athens also recorded a double-digit increase in passenger traffic in May (+11.1%) compared to May 2019 and a similar trend is seen in June.

With 9.15 million passengers in the first five months of 2023, the Greek capital is already at +5.9% compared to 2019.

Athens is a new entrant in the top 10 of the most sought-after city destinations internationally, in 10th place in the ranking of the travel analysis company Forwardkeys, one place higher than in 2022, while in first place is Bangkok with Paris second and London third.

ForwardKeys flight search data is based on billions of searches per year from online travel agencies, airlines and metasearch companies (Google Flights, Kayak,, Skyscanner, Wego).

The company's latest data also highlights the recovery of city destinations that were further behind leisure trips to seaside destinations that dominated travelers' preferences during the pandemic and immediately after.

Now and compared to last year, air ticket bookings for seaside destinations are up 22%, while for city destinations 42%. The share of bookings for nature -focused destinations (45%) and shopping destinations (+53%) is even greater.

Athens airport is currently experiencing an increase in the planned places of the summer season until October by 16.2%, at levels above 8.1 million based on the data published and processed by the Institute of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises INSETE.

Overall for Greek tourism, the official data from the Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Statistical Authority point to a positive sign up to April, a month in which tourist receipts reached 761 million euros, significantly increased by 42% compared to April of 2019 (537 million euros).

Compared to April 2022, when receipts were at 635 million euros, the increase is +20%, while arrivals are +30% this year (+52.5% compared to the first quarter of 2022 where however, travel restrictions applied in the first months).

The figures of the Ministry of Finance are also consistent with those of ELSTAT , which records an increase of 23% in the turnover of the accommodation and catering sectors in April 2023, compared to the corresponding month of 2022, with the total turnover amounting to 472, 6 million euros.

In particular, the turnover in the accommodation sector amounted to 293.5 million euros, marking an increase of 29.7% compared to April 2022 and in the catering services sector to 179 million euros, increased by 13.1%.

The largest increase in turnover in the two branches was observed in the Regional Unit of Corfu (60.1%) and the smallest (7.3%) for the first time in the Regional Unit of Mykonos.

The "Island of the Winds" is the destination of the country that is still lagging in performance in 2023, as can be seen from the air traffic data, both in relation to 2022 and 2019.

Super Paradise, Mykonos

In particular, the most premium destination of the country, with 204,000 passengers is down by 5.7% compared to the five months last year (-20.4% in terms of international passenger traffic), while compared to the first five months of 2019 the corresponding percentage is at-10.1%.

Based on the data published and processed by INSETE, Mykonos airport has a reduced seat planning at the moment (data up to 12/6) over 17% to 689,000 seats from the 832,000 in the corresponding period of 2022.

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The first 5 markets - although with a decrease compared to last year - are Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Germany, while an increase is noted by Israel and Austria which follow in sixth and seventh place but with a much fewer seats (as shown in the table).

READ MORE: Spaniards traveling to less explored destinations in Greece increased by 20% in 2022.

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