Greek Tourism Predicted to Achieve Record-Breaking Revenue in 2023

acropolis crowds

According to a recent report by the National Bank of Greece, the country's tourism industry is anticipated to reach an all-time high with an estimated revenue of €21 billion in 2023.

This staggering figure is expected to surpass the previous record of €18.17 billion set in 2019, just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although tourism made a strong recovery in 2022 following two challenging years, the revenue of €17.63 billion fell short of reaching a new record.

A notable contributing factor to this projected revenue boost is the impact of inflation, which has led to higher prices. It is anticipated that these increased prices will compensate for the slightly shorter duration of visitors' vacations.

The report highlights two emerging trends that may continue to shape the tourism landscape in the coming years. Firstly, there is a growing interest in alternative tourist destinations that are less saturated with visitors. Places like Mytilene, the capital of the island of Lesvos, and Kavala, a city in mainland northern Greece, are gaining popularity among travelers. Secondly, there is a rising competition from countries such as Turkey, which has increased its share of the Mediterranean holiday market from 19% in 2019 to 22% in 2022. In contrast, Greece's market share remains steady at 13%, while Albania has seen a significant 24% increase since 2019, albeit starting from a low single-digit share.

Interestingly, the report reveals that during the off-peak season from March to May, there was a 10% increase in tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2022, resulting in a 19% rise in revenue. Notably, visitors from the United States played a significant role in this growth, with their higher spending of €1,000 compared to the average visitor's spending of €599, positively impacting overall revenue. Conversely, arrivals from the United Kingdom experienced a 5% decline from 2022, with average spending also dropping from €713 to €668.

Furthermore, a noteworthy change observed in 2023 was the early start to the tourist season, benefiting major cities like Athens. Sales of city hotels saw an increase from 38% of the total in 2019 to 41% in early 2023, while the share of the islands slightly declined from 51% to 48%. Athens is no longer just a transit stop on the way to the islands but has become an attractive destination in itself.

The report also highlights the rise in air travel arrivals in June, showing a 12% increase compared to the previous year. However, there was a notable decrease of 7% in arrivals on popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini, while Mytilene and Kavala experienced an impressive increase of over 20%.

Unfortunately, the report mentions that the July wildfire in Rhodes could potentially cause a 1% drop in visitor numbers. Rhodes accounted for 16% of all visitors in 2022 and hosted 17% of guests at 4 and 5-star accommodations.

Overall, the forecasted record-breaking revenue in Greek tourism for 2023 showcases the industry's resilience and recovery despite the recent challenges, while also indicating the evolving dynamics of popular destinations and emerging competition in the Mediterranean market.

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