Tourism ar­rivals close to 23 mln

Greece to en­ter top 15 of global hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions de­spite un­fa­vor­able con­di­tions in Europe and Rus­sia

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

The to­tal num­berof vis­i­tors to Greece this year will end up at around 23 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est es­ti­mates by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Hel­lenic Tourism En­ter­prises (SETE), ex­ceed­ing even the most op­ti­mistic forecasts re­gard­ing tourism in 2014.

SETE has just in­cor­po­rated Oc­to­ber data into its pro­jec­tions for the year that now point to 20.5 ar­rivals from abroad, not in­clud­ing cruise vis­i­tors.

How­ever the as­so­ci­a­tion is not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity that non­cruise vis­i­tor ar­rivals will rise fur­ther this year if provisional Bank of Greece fig­ures re­gard­ing an ad­di­tional 1.2 mil­lion road and coastal shipping ar­rivals in July and Au­gust are con­firmed. If that is the case, SETE es­ti­mates that non-cruise ar­rivals will ex­ceed 21 mil­lion this year, against 17.9 mil­lion in 2013 and 15.5 mil­lion in 2012.

SETE also notes that cruise pas­sen­ger ar­rivals, which orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions had shown would re­main stag­nant this year from 2013, in fact posted an in­crease of some 100,000 in the first half of the year, while they are ex­pected to climb to 2.5 mil­lion for the whole of 2014, from 2.2 mil­lion last year.

SETE head An­dreas An­dreadis com­mented that de­spite the dete- ri­o­ra­tion in the eco­nomic cli­mate in Europe and Rus­sia, Greece is ex­pected to en­ter the world’s top 15 tourism des­ti­na­tions.

Data from the coun­try’s main air­ports in the first 10 months of the year point to 15 per­cent growth in tourism ar­rivals from abroad as they came to 14 mil­lion, from 12.2 mil­lion in the Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber 2013 pe­riod. The big­gest an­nual in­crease by far was ob­served at Kala­mata Air­port (72.3 per­cent), fol­lowed by the air ter­mi­nals on My­conos (39 per­cent), in Athens (29.4 per­cent) and on San­torini (26.9 per­cent). In ab­so­lute fig­ures how­ever the great­est rise was at Athens In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which saw an in­crease of 700,000 pas­sen­gers.

In Oc­to­ber alone, air ar­rivals from abroad broke the 1-mil­lion bar­rier, post­ing an­nual growth of 23.5 per­cent, with a 200 per­cent rise at Kala­mata Air­port and a 38.6 per­cent in­crease at Athens Air­port.

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