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Tourism in Greece

Last update May 17, 2024

Greece's constantly growing industry, and so important to the overall GDP of the country that intensive planning and governmental work goes into each tourist season. In 2023, record numbers of visitors has brought about limits on numbers of people visiting the Acropolis each day, and there's always a self-limiting aspect to buying ferry tickets to get to the islands: there's only so many.

Be sure to see: Visiting Greece

Important Links:

Statistical info PDF for July 2023 from the Greece Tourism Site

European Travel Commission


Cheapest destinations in Greece for 2024 are these three stunning islands

May 31, 2024: Story at Travel off Path [English]

EasyJet estimates more than 2.39 million visitors to Greece for 2024 using their airline

May 15, 2024: Story at Imerisia [Greek]

The tourism tax in Greece

January 9, 2024: Story at Travel Pulse MSN [English]

Golden Visas and the Ellinikon

January 8, 2024: Story at Yahoo News [English]

The $5,500 tour of the Acropolis

December 26, 2023: Story at MSN Insider [English]

Visitors again allowed to visit the Bourtzi Island Fortress in Nafplio

August 3, 2023: Story at Greek Reporter [English]

Visitor caps for Acropolis, with hourly limits

August 3, 2023 - Times Union [English]

The problem of illegal tour guides

April 19, 2023 - Story at To Vima [Greek]

The "economical" tourist destinations in Europe of 2023

Feb 21, 2023 - Story at Ethnos [Greek]

The accounting for the numbers of tourists and earnings from 2022

Feb 2023: Numbers at Imerisia [Greek]

How to plan "an epic photoshoot" in Greece

June 13, 2022: Story at Yahoo News [English]

Revamping Greek airports to reduce delays

Story at OT Financial Post [English via Google Translate]

"Google Trends" shows Greece as number one destination interest

April 12, 2022: Story at Devonlive [English]

Greece in the lead for short-term leases this tourist season

April 11, 2022: Story at Imerisia [Greek]

Digital Nomads program from the Ministry of Tourism in pilot cities of Ermoupolis, Heraklion and Kalamata

March 20, 2022: Story at OT Financial Post [Greek]

Rhodes hotels looking at tour contract increases

March 20, 2022: Story at OT Financial Post [Greek]

Greek launches new tourism campaign to boost weekend visits

February 1, 2022: Story at Keep Talking Greece [English]

Americans planning major European trips in 2022

January 23, 2022: Story at OT GR [Greek]

Which tourists spend the most in Greece?

January 12, 2022: Story at OT Financial Post [Greek]

Central Bank confidence on Greece reaching pre-Covd tourism again

January 7, 2022: Story at GT Pages [English]

Note: The Bank of Greece estimated 76.9% decline in tourism in the first half-year of the pandemic.

Massive 80% tourism drop 2021 holiday season

January 2, 2022: Story at Powergame [Greek]

Will summer tourism "be late"?

January 3, 2022: Story at Imerisia [Greek]

Tourism goal for 2022: normalization

December 31, 2021: Story at OT Fincnial Post [Greek]

Can tourism produce €27 billion by 2030?

December 29, 2021: Story at GTP Pages [English]

Tourism topped €10 billion through October

December 21, 2021: Story at GTP Pages [Greek]

Country-wide turnover in accommodation increased by 105.9% compared to October 2020

December 21, 2021: Story at Imerazante [Greek]

Greece "luxury tourism" at showcase in France

December 20, 2021: Story at GTP Pages [English]

"Total tourism restart" in 2022 say Tourism Minister Kikilias

December 17, 2021: Story at GTP Pages [Greek] and at Imerazante [Greek]

Bookings for winter tourism

"Currently, occupancy rates in Athens hotels are around 15%," he said, unable to see more than 25% even in the best of cases. The situation in Athens is incredibly inactive with a huge deviation from the levels of 2019.

December 12, 2021: Story at Powergame [Greek]

Action plans for 2022 Greek tourism

The successful course of Greek tourism toward 2030 requires a transition from spontaneous to targeted development...

December 11, 2021: Story at eKathimerini [English]

Tourism in 2021 boosted Greece recovery

December 7, 2021: Story at Bloomberg [English]

Nine months of tourism = 11.6 million visitors

Top visits from Germany, France, UK and USA

November 22, 2021: Data at Naftemporiki [Greek]

The "twelve essential spots" in Greece

In reality, you could spend months on end exploring all that Greece has to offer, but if you’re planning on undertaking a whirlwind tour, these 12 sites make for essential stops."

Here's the first five of the "12 essential" places of Greece according to Lonely Planet:



Cyclades Islands



The beaches of LefkadaProtothema

"Eating It Up In Athens" Porthole

July 6, 2021: A quick survey of Athens eating places.

Thumbs up and we are off to another local institution, isolated from tourists. It’s a small little shop specializing in the superstar of all Greek food, souvlaki. There are several versions of this bbq meat but pork is the real deal and this place rules among locals as the best of the rest.

Vaccinations leading the way to 15 million tourists for 2021?

May 9, 2021: Story at Skai [in Greek]

Tourism facts in Greece:

A quarter of the Greek GDP is from tourism (fact from Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation)

Greece's 2018 economic growth of 1.9% contained 1% due to tourism's increase (21.6 billion euros, 11.7% of GDP) (fact from Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation)

The other large piece of the Greek economy is shipping which constitutes 7% of GDP.

During peak tourism season, half a million people are directly employed in tourism, and if the other businesses which are utilized for the tourism machine are added into this number (for example, transport), an estimated 44% of employment in Greece is linked to tourism.

90% of revenue that comes from abroad is tourism related.

2020 Update: to consider how much the pandemic has impacted Greece, consider this article:

Estimates on tourism earnings for 2020 shows sharp, significant decline versus 2019

Story at Skai [Greek]

Top visited locations in Greece 2019

The top visited places in Greece are (stats from Institute of Greek Tourism Confederation

  1. Athens
  2. Crete
  3. Thessaloniki
  4. Rhodes
  5. Corfu
  6. Kos
  7. Zakynthos
  8. Santorini
  9. Mykonos
  10. Kefalonia
  11. Kalamata
  12. Karpathos

Visiting Greece - advice and tips on coming to Greece

2019 - Tourism too important for Greek economy?- Story at eKathimerini

Tourism 2020 - Santorini

June 22, 2020 - "What happened on Santorini when the 'tourist machine' stopped"

This CNN article chronicles what happened as the pandemic lockdown closed the island off to everyone except residents, and the 'machine' or tourism came to a stop. This enabled a number of municipal projects to move forward without having to deal with the intrusions of hundreds of thousands of visitors, but there's no iron y that many of the projects were to improve in fa structure that serves the visitors. Asking a taverna owner what the visitor in 2020 could expect, a reply was "They will see Santorini, quiet and uncrowded like it used to be."

... Santorini [is] Greece's most visited island, receiving up to two million tourists annually -- many arriving on the gigantic cruise ships that can normally be seen parked in the middle of the natural bay below. The island will be welcoming international visitors via airplane once again from July 1, but cautions over the coronavirus mean their numbers will be far fewer than before...

Story at CNN News

Tourism 2019 beating 2018 numbers

Bank of Greece reports that tourism receipts totaled €537 in April 2019 versus €503 in the same month of 2018

Tourism 2018

2019 tourist season could differ from 2018's record rate

Story at Greek Reporter on comments made by President of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) Yiannis Retsos.

Tsipras: Greece expecting record high of 32 million tourists in 2018 - Athens News Agency

Greek current account deficit widens in April, tourism revenues increase - freemalaysiatoday

Thomas Cook to Invest €150M in Greek Tourism in 2018 - Greek Reporter

‘Thematic Tourism Key to Boost Arrivals to Greece’ – Interview with Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos - GTP

Fraport Greece sees double-digit percentage rise in 2018 passenger traffic - Reuters

Greece tourism at record high amid alarm over environmental cost - UK Guardian

National Tourism Organization invites 587 bloggers to promote the beauty of Greece - Protothema

Is Greece on the brink of an overtourism crisis? - UK Telegraph

Scenery of Astypalaia island, Greece (photos) -

Tourism 2017

"Tourism was up 7 percent in 2017, and has been doubling the industry average for growth in recent years. That is good news in this vital sector of Greece’s economy. One in five jobs created in Greece is in the tourism sector. Some estimates are every 30 tourists create a new job for a Greek." - Fox News Story Nov 27, 2017

"27 million tourists in 2017 according to central Bank of Greece figures"

May 2013

Greek PM invites China to 'join Greece's success story' - CS Monitor

"After global rating agency Fitch upgraded Greece's sovereign credit rating from CCC to B- last week, Mr. Samaras tried to convince Chinese officials that the economic crisis plaguing Greece would soon come to an end.

"I wouldn't be here if we in Greece hadn't turned our ship around," he told them during his visit, flanked by 71 Greek businessmen and members of his cabinet, who had to pay their own way to Asia because of budget austerity measures."

2013 Tourism to Greece down 5.5% in 2012 - Elstat

Arrivals from United States down -22.9%

Norway, Russia, Uk and Australia up.

" the period January- December of 2012 , arrivals of non-residents from abroad decreased by 5.5%, as compared with the same period of the year 2011.

More specifically, in January-December 2012 arrivals from Europe, which account for the majority of arrivals of non-residents to Greece (89.3%), registered a 5.5% decrease reflecting the same decrease observed for total arrivals, while arrivals from the Member States of the European Union recorded a decrease of 8,5%. Arrivals from Poland, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria and Netherlands showed a significant decrease in absolute values.

On the other hand, a significant increase in the total of arrivals was observed in the cases of United Kingdom and Russia. As regards the participation of non-resident arrivals by country of origin, the largest number of arrivals came from Germany (13.6%), United Kingdom (12.4%) and France (6.3%).

Moreover, the corresponding data for the rest of the continents show a significant decrease in arrivals, in absolute values, from America, while an increase in absolute values is recorded for arrivals from Asia.

As regards the means of transportation and the point of entry, the data show that most arrivals are by air. During the aforementioned time period the airport with the largest share of traffic is Athens (17.1%) and then follow the airport of Irakleio (13.3%) and Rodos (10.3%).

Download Elstats complete press release with stats and tables.

May 2013

Luring Tourists Back to Greece - NY Times

"If last summer was a dark spot for tourism in this crisis-hit country, travelers are returning in greater numbers this year, lured by discounts of up to 20 percent on hotels in major cities...

“The Greek government is stable, and we are no longer under speculation that Greece will leave the euro,” said Xenophon Petropoulos, a spokesman for the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises. “The value-to-price ratio is excellent at the moment, and that’s helping to bring tourism back.”

With reports of anti-austerity protests last year and early this year fresh in people’s minds, however, the first question being asked by travelers is whether it is safe to visit Greece. The short answer is yes.

“You may have activity in Syntagma Square,” Mr. Petropoulos said. “But 500 meters away, people are drinking beer in Plaka.”

2010 - Athens trying to stabilize tourism drop to single digits

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Greece Travel 2024

Last update May 26, 2021 | Updated April 9, 2023

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