Greek Tourism Surges to Record Levels in Early 2024

Greek Tourism Surges to Record Levels in Early 2024

Greece’s tourism industry has seen a remarkable increase in the first quarter of 2024, even surpassing the high levels of early 2019.

While many popular travel spots around the world, especially in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, are still struggling to recover to pre-pandemic levels, Greece has reached new all-time highs in a time of year that is usually the slowest for tourism.

Traveler and arrival receipts soar

According to the Bank of Greece, the number of visitors from other countries went up by 24.5%, and the money they spent increased by 28.2% compared to the first part of 2023.

Receipts totaled €942 million, which is much more than €746.5 million in early 2019 and €735 million in early 2023.

In March alone, there was a 31.2% increase in visitors and a 34.2% rise in money spent, reaching €372.3 million compared to €277.5 million in March 2023.

Greece outperforms global tourism recovery

Greek tourism is now about 120% bigger than it was in the first part of 2019, doing much better than most places around the world.

However, some countries like Qatar (+177%), Albania (+121%), and Saudi Arabia (+98%) have grown even more since early 2019.

Many of these places are new to the tourism market or were slower to recover from the pandemic in the past few years.

Tourist arrivals near pre-pandemic

The United Nations Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) reported that international tourist arrivals reached 97% of their pre-pandemic levels in the first part of 2024.

Over 285 million tourists have traveled internationally from January to March 2024.

Double-digit passenger growth in Q1

Greek airports have also seen a significant increase in passenger traffic during the first four months of 2024.

The Civil Aviation Authority reported a 12.2% increase, with about 12.6 million passengers compared to 11.2 million in the same period of 2023.

Skiathos Airport had the biggest increase at 15.1%, followed by Kavala (14.8%), Iraklio (13.7%), and Santorini (13.3%).

Greece welcomes EU visitors

Greece’s growing tourism industry is good news for visitors and immigrants from the European Union (EU). Travelers from certain countries can easily visit Greece without needing a visa.

However, starting in mid-2025, all visa-exempt travelers will need to use the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to improve security in the Schengen Area.

Positive impact on EU immigration to Greece

Greece’s record tourism growth might also improve its immigration policies. 

The country could become more attractive to long-term visitors like families, investors, digital nomads, and students.

As Greece remains a top destination, it may change its policies to welcome these groups and create a friendly environment for those wanting to live there.

Greece poised for tourism boom

Greece’s tourism industry has shown strong recovery and growth, setting new records and doing better than many other places around the world.

As the world recovers from the pandemic, Greece is in a good position to keep up its strong performance and attract even more visitors in the coming months.