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Greek Tourism Streaking Toward Full Recovery in 2022

Greece Tourism
Written by Linda S. Hohnholz

The Greek Minister for Tourism, formerly the Minister for Health in Greece during the pandemic, Mr. Vasilis Kikilias, welcomed delegates to World Travel Market in London on Monday 1 November and outlined how its pandemic policies have underpinned the country’s competitive advantage in 2021 and how the country is expecting tourism, which provides 25% of its economy, will make a full recovery in 2022.

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  1. 2021 at 65% of record 2019 year.
  2. Full recovery of tourism expected in 2022.
  3. Extending the tourism season is progressing and will help in recovery.

Mr Kikilias also outlined its commitment to sustainable tourism practices and provided details on the positive progress the country has made on season extension.

Greece has also  outlined its 10-year strategy (National Strategic Planning for Tourism Development 2030), which was launched in the midst of a particularly difficult period, in terms of challenges and competition. Main points include product development and promotion, accessibility and connectivity, green infrastructure/tourism sustainable development, experience management, tourism education and training, whole-government approach, regulatory framework and crisis management.”


  1. Post-pandemic growth

Greece’s objectives for tourism in 2021 were to reach 50% of the 2019 record figures. This target has been hit and surpassed by 65%, thanks to an exemplary performance this autumn.

Mr Kikilias said: “The Greek Tourism sector showed remarkable resilience.”

The Minister also said: “the figures show that travel receipts more than doubled on a year-to-year basis. All quality indicators such as average spending and length of stay were also significantly improved.”

  • “A full recovery in Greek tourism is expected in 2022(as long no new variants develop). This is not based on wishful thinking but on the hard data we are getting on the number of new flights new routes and interest expressed for Greece from the industry.
  • “The revival of tourism will support a general economic recovery. Even this year our initial estimates of 3.6% growth were revised to 5.9% because of the overperformance in the tourism sector.
  • Greece`s National Recovery and Resilience Plan has a 320 million euros budget for tourism development, infrastructures, reskilling and upskilling of tourism education and digitalization.
  • Tourism constitutes approximately 25% of the Greek Economy. There are significant investments on the pipeline either for new developments or the upgrade of older ones.
  • Key statistics

Travel balance

  • From January-August 2021: Surplus of 5.971 billion euros (January-August 2020: Surplus of 2.185 billion euros)

Travel receipts

  • January-August 2021: 6.582 billion euros (January-August 2020: 2.793 billion euros, an increase of 135.7%)

Incoming travel traffic

  • August 2021: Increase of 125.5%. January-August 2021: Increase 79.2%

Travel Receipts / Country

January-August 2021

  • Residents of EU-27 countries: 4.465 billion euros, an increase of 146.2%
  • Residents of non-EU-27 countries: € 1.971 billion, an increase of 102.0%
  • Germany: 1.264 billion euros, an increase of 114.7%
  • France: 731 million euros, an increase of 207.7%
  • United Kingdom: EUR 787 million, an increase of 75.2%
  • US: 340 million euros, an increase of 371.5%
  • Russia: 58 million euros, an increase of 414.1%

The Minister continues: “Undoubtedly the pandemic affected all sectors of economic life in all countries. For Greece that is heavily affected by tourism revenues as 1 out of 4 euros comes directly or indirectly from the tourism sector.  It was a profound challenge to tackle the issues of securing health and safety of our people and visitors and trying to keep the economy open. In this regard my previous post as a Minister of Health for the last two years created an unprecedented bond between the Tourism and the Health Ministries.

“The initiatives taken by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis created a common form of recognizing vaccinated people from EU countries and allowed them to travel, whilst also implementing strict protocols across the hospitality sector that built an unparalleled level of trust for Greece and helped in the resilience of the tourism sector. 

“A closer partnership of the private and public sector was established, which resulted to the soft re-opening of the Greek travel industry, with safety, professionalism and strict protocols that were implemented in an exemplary manner. This partnership had a positive impact on the brand equity of Greece.

“All provisional data shows that we overperformed our original estimates. After a hesitant start in May June onwards up until now in October and in some areas November shows that we have managed to reach beyond the original goal of 50% of 2019. Furthermore data shows a positive trend on qualitative figures as well. An example could be the average expenditure per trip that rose close to 700€ from (2020: €583, 2019: €535) as well as the average length of stay.

“Because Greece announced early how it would open up to international tourism, operators, clients and airlines were given confidence to plan.

  • Season extension

Mr Kikilias said: “Extending the season is a goal still in the making. This autumn has showed that in many ‘summer’ locations we can accommodate visitors until November and we are getting ready to welcome guests again as early as mid-March. Greece also has year-round locations including the cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki that can appeal to all segments of visitors.

“The action plan for 2022 includes the development of strategies for long-haul markets and special forms of tourism, establishing Greece as a destination to visit all year round. The main strategic objective of the Strategic Marketing Plan 2021 of the Greek Tourism is the recovery of the tourism industry in Greece taking into consideration the current conditions, national and global trends. Everyone involved in the travel industry is, for us, a vital piece; that is why we try to reinforce every effort, through the Greek National Tourism Organization, with well targeted collaborations, co-advertising and promotional activities.


Greece aims to be a role model in sustainable tourism

Mr Kikilias said: “We want to make Greece a role model of sustainable tourism. Greece has already signed up to initiatives such as The Mediterranean: a model sea by 2030 which aims to protect biodiversity and reduce over fishing and pollution as well as making islands carbon and plastic free. At the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, the Greek Prime Minister has presented preliminary results of research on how Greece can transform two of its strongest assets – Santorini and Mykonos – into plastic free destinations and become Sustainability Role Models through a holistic approach. Meanwhile, there are plans for the island of Chalki to be powered only through renewable energy sources.

Green and blue development

Mr Kikilias said: “We wish to introduce to our prospective visitors many parts of the country that were till now less known but constitute ideal places to feel the authentic hospitality of our country. This includes remote islands and mainland mountainous regions.”

The Ministry of Tourism aims to support Greek tourism over two pillars, namely green and blue development.

  • Green Development can serve as an accelerator towards sustainable and inclusive development of the tourism sector, by shaping a higher-value proposition in regions with less developed tourism industry, stimulating investment and improving employment perspectives in the areas where the pandemic consequences were widely felt.
  • Blue Development aims to upgrade the accessibility on the coastal areas beaches and the port facilities in order to increasingly improve the quality of the national maritime tourism product.
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About the author

Linda S. Hohnholz

Linda Hohnholz has been the editor in chief for eTurboNews for many years.
She loves to write and pays attention to details.
She is also in charge of all premium content and press releases.

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