Tourism in Greece
Greece's fast growing industry, and so important to the overall GDP of the country that intensive planning and governmental work has gone into getting the industry back on its feet as the after-effects of the world wide pandemic slowly wane.
Be sure to see: Visiting Greece
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:
The beaches of Lefkada – Protothema
"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 sete.gr):
Visiting Greece - advice and tips on coming to Greece
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
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.
"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"
"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.
"...in 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%).
"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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Last update May 26, 2021