Why did Greece in 2023 achieve record tourism numbers?

Kefalonia Greece named one of the European Best Destinations for 2021

The maintenance of Greece at the top of the tourist brands worldwide, the large investments in the tourism sector in recent years and the overall image of the country in the global tourism scene are giving record figures to the Greek economy this year as well, sealing 2023 as the record year of Greek tourism.

Greek tourism operators advocate that the image of the safe country that Greece built during the pandemic, focusing on how it welcomed its foreign visitors, is a very important factor for coming to Greece.

At this point, the vice-president of XEE, Christina Tetradis, notes to the Athenian Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) that Greece has been recorded in the world's consciousness as a safe country.

Karpathos greek island tourism"Greece is not a third-world country, but a modern country that anyone for holidays can visit, she explains. Also, the management in Rhodes and Corfu consolidated the image of a safe country, which can manage difficult conditions," Tetradi said.

In support of the above, the president of the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts, Konstantina Svinos, reports to AMNA that even the very good image of the country at the political level has contributed to building the general image.

At the same time, the negative voices about hyper-tourism in other competitive destinations, such as Spain and Italy, have given points to the image of Greece, explains Mrs. Svinou.

In the meantime, the new investments in hotel units, in turn, constitute an additional factor enhancing the visitation of tourist destinations. In particular, according to a special survey prepared by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) on behalf of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (ΕΕΕ), the number of hotels in the 5-star category increased by 119% in the last ten years, from 2013 to 2023.

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If the above is added to the trend observed worldwide, which is none other than the return of travel to pre-pandemic levels, then it becomes clear that there is a critical mass of travellers travelling around the world.

As Mrs Svinou notes, the percentage of those who travel has increased significantly, with Mrs Tetradis adding that at the same time, she does not save but, on the contrary, prefers travelling around the world. Given that air connections have now made it easier for travellers to travel comfortably without intermediate stations, in most cases, it becomes clear that Greek destinations are easily accessible, as highlighted.

How much will the revenue be for 2023?

For 2023, tourism revenues, as announced by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Kostis Hatzidakis, will be 19.5 billion euros, from 17.7 billion euros in 2022, while the budget estimate for 2024 is that these will amount to 21 billion euros, thus highlighting tourism as a pillar of revenue enhancement for the Greek economy.

Regarding the arrival of foreign visitors, Mrs Svinou estimates that there will be around 32 million without visitors from the cruise. In fact, for 2023, the president of ITEP notes that the turnover of the hotels will be increased compared to 23.

Of course, she clarifies that the percentages of increase in guest arrivals are not reflected in the hotel occupancy rates, as a large share of guest arrivals are directed to short-term rental, as he says.

But are the above numbers for celebrations?

But are the above numbers for celebrations? The president of the Federation of FedHatta tourist offices, Lysandros Tsilidis, is wary of the final impression of increased revenues on businesses, noting the following: The figures may show increased revenues, but they have not been deflated. Indeed, when the increases in tourist services range from 15% to 30%, then it is logical to increase tourist revenues by approximately 13% compared to 2019—income from short-term rentals and how they are calculated. Income from tourism activity or income from rental activities? asks Mr. Tsilidis.

In fact, about the increased air arrivals, he notes that it should be clarified how many are passing travellers, that is, those who do not spend the night in Greece, so there is an accurate track of arrivals from abroad. At this point, he adds that there is no way to measure the nationalities coming through the EU, which would be very helpful in drawing up the communication strategy.

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In fact, Mr Tsilidis requests that the Schengen Visa be issued electronically and not through the consulates because this excludes a significant portion of potential visitors from coming to Greece, as he says.

For 2024, every prediction and estimate is complete at this point in time. The military operations in the Middle East and Ukraine do not help map the new tourist season despite any good signs for Greece, as noted by Mrs Tetradis.

For his part, the president of FedHatta speaks of a "mess" in 2024. Everyone is promising arrivals in Greece, but nothing has become certain yet, as he notes. He urges a global approach of professionals in the field of tourist offices.

"Let's approach those who send people to Greece so that Greece becomes the centre of traffic," he said.

Finally, it should be emphasised that 2024 the first World Conference of Tourist Office Links will take place in Greece.

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