Greece is a unique country, known for its natural beauty and fascinating culture. The country is characterized by its mountainous landscapes, incredible weather, many islands, long sandy beaches, and more. In recent years, Greece has become a favourite tourist destination for many Europeans and attracts every year millions of visitors who travel there for their summer holiday.

Here, we explain some of the top trends, statistics, and tourist-related facts in the Greece Tourism industry.

Covid-19 and Tourism Industry

The Covid-19 outbreak has caused a severe impact on the Greek tourism industry. There are three major effects of Coivd-19 on the industry. First, the off-season decline in terms of domestic flights and domestic passengers was much deeper in early 2020. Second, Covid-19 extended the off-season drop related to international flights and passengers. Third, the visitor seasonstarted later in 2020, its peak was also much lower (half of the preceding years), and the culmination was very quick.

Visitor season 2021 started in June when the country was officially open again for tourists. Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that by that time, Greek islands should be COVID-free. The Greek government allowed international tourists with proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test to come. But then again, the situation got rather unpredictable since many companies were crippled with debt and there was a slow vaccine rollout worldwide. However, now in 2022, there will be crucial changes in tourism, new trends, and behavioral changes among industry and people compared to travel in previous years.

Pre and Post-Pandemic Trends and Statistics

  1. Approximately 34.2 millionarrivals were recorded at travel accommodation in Greece in 2019.
  2. International tourism was the highest contributor, with around two-thirds of arrivals in visitor accommodation coming from a foreign country.
  3. In 2020, after the Covid-19 impact, Greek tourism suffered its worst year on record with just 7 million visitors bringing in revenues of 4 billion euros ($4.55 billion).
  4. The Greek tourism industry began to recover in 2021 when a season that officially began in May delivered about 10.5 billion euros in revenues, far less than an all-time record in 2019.
  5. Greece has eased travel restrictions imposed to combat the spread of Covid-19 and fully vaccinated visitorsdo not need a negative test to enter the country.
  6. In 2022, big tour operators, and big airline companies, want to prolong the visitor season (from March through December).
  7. An earlier start means hotels that close over the winter months can reopen earlier and tour operators begin bringing in parties.

Contribution of Tourism to Greece’s Economy

  1. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in Greece was around 38 billion euros.
  2. Tourism also boosted employment in the country, with roughly 759 thousand jobs in the Greek travel and tourism industry in 2020.
  3. The Greek tourism industry accounts for a fifth of the economy and one in five jobs.
  4. Greece recorded a total of 7 million tourists in 2020, ranking 27th in the world in absolute terms.
  5. With 0.69 tourists per resident, Greece ranked 57th in the world.
  6. In Southern Europe, Greece was ranked 7th.
  7. The total contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Greece increased by roughly 75% in 2021 over the previous year.
  8. Overall, travel and tourism in the country generated, directly and indirectly, around 27 billion euros in 2021, rising from 15.5 billion euros in 2020.
  9. In Greece, leisure travel accounted for the highest share of travel and tourism spending in 2021 with 95% leisure spending and 5% in business spending, remaining stable compared to 2019.
  10. The number of domestic tourist arrivals at accommodation establishments in Greece was 9.7 million in 2009, this figure reached 9.16 million in 2019.
  11. The number of tourists traveling domestically for personal reasons in Greece was 5.2 million in 2019, a decrease of 510 thousand from 2018.
  12. Overnight domestic tourists in Greece fluctuated in the past decade, reaching their peak in 2012 at 6.5 million.

Tourism Industry Insight

  1. Greece’s mainland and the Greek islands have some of the favorite holiday destinations in Europe.
  2. Greece comes in 13th place (2019) in the world rating of tourist destinations.
  3. According to the National Statistical Service of Greece, it receives more than 30 million tourists every year, after countries such as the USA, China, Spain, France, and Great Britain.
  4. Most tourists to Greece come from Europe, especially the EU countries, and from the USA, while fewer originate from the other continents.
  5. According to surveys, the Chinese and the Austriansvote for Greece as the best holiday spot ever.
  6. Greece also contains the longest coastline among Mediterranean countries, and its many beach resorts on islands such as Santorini and Mykonos draw in thousands of tourists each year.
  7. Most of the tourist spending in Greece comes from leisure travelers as opposed to those traveling for business, and this has a significant impact on the Greek economy.
  8. Greece has more international airports than most countries.
  9. In 2022, Greece’s tourism minister stressed improving vital tourism infrastructure.
  10. The Greek Tourismindustry also aims to establish a crisis management task force to manage and overcome the possibilities of the crisis.
  11. Digitizing the tourism ecosystem is also a new and emerging trend in 2022 to make tourism activities more innovative and easier to approach for tourists.
  12. Greece’s tourism minister also said that upskilling, and reskilling options will be available for tourism professionals.
  13. In order to help the ministry, achieve its tourism goal in 2022, Minister Kikilias referred to a total of 320,000,000 euros in EU recovery funding.
  14. The funding amount will be channeled into many projects, including agritourism and health and wellness tourism.

Other Tourist-related trends and facts

  1. The season for tourism in Greece lasts from May to September, since the third-quarters of the tourism flow choose this time of year to come to Greece.
  2. The sunny weather, warm beaches, and variable landscapes invite people from all over the world to experience the Greek hospitality and peaceful way of life.
  3. A special interest is given to promoting, apart from summer holidays, winter tourist resorts, therapeutic spas, ecotourism, working holidays, and discovery holidays.
  4. Island cruises and island-hopping itineraries are very popular.
  5. Greek Mediterranean climate is ideal for activities such as year-round golf and trekking.
  6. It is estimated that one million Europeans would consider Greece as a second home destination.
  7. Greece is home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including world-famous sites like the Acropolis of Athens, the Temple of Apollo, Meteora, and the Old Town of Corfu and it’s a treat for visitors who love to visit heritage sites.
  8. Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, with 80% of the country covered in mountains. 
  9. More tourists visit Greece every year than the entire Greek population.
  10. Greece is one of the sunniest places in the world.
  11. Greece has more archaeological museums than any country in the world.
  12. A sillier fun fact about Greece is that it is against Greek law to wear high heels when you go on a tour of ancient sites
  13. Greeks find it offensive when someone waves at them, palm facing out and fingers spread.Towave at a Greek, fingers should stay closed.
  14. Mykonos is a beautiful and heavily visited part of Greece when the weather is nice. 
  15. Once the temperature drops around November, the winds pick up, making visits to the island not so pleasant, visiting around April is recommended when it gets warmer out.
  16. There are more than 4,000 traditional Greek dances that have been recorded and taught across generations. 
  17. Greeks celebrate two birthdays, one is their own birthdays every year, second,they will also be celebrated on the Name Day of the saint they are named after.
  18. Greece is definitely a destination to visit, particularly for the sun and beach lovers.