Despite the economic doom and gloom, Greece is celebrating after announcing its best ever October for international arrivals.
Marketing Greece announced that arrivals in the country’s airports rocketed by more than 21 per cent in October 2013 compared to 2012. International passengers jumped from 697,227 to 847,247.
Meanwhile, international arrivals to the country have grown by 10.93 per cent in the last year, with 12,269,268 visitors travelling to Greece from January to October 2013, compared to 11,059,895 during the same period last year.
In particular, Crete has enjoyed a phenomenal year, with Heraklion Airport seeing arrivals growing 17.82 per cent, to 2,485,841 tourists. This is the largest number across all airports of the country, surpassing Athens for the first time.
The island’s Chania Airport also reported a significant increase (20.10 per cent), meaning the tourism season in Crete has been extended until the end of November.
Marketing Greece general manager, Iossif Parsalis, said: “More than 12 million visitors from all over the world have visited Greece so far this year, confirming that the country remains a world class destination on the international tourism map.
“A number of new flights have already been announced for next year and with year-on-year pre-bookings up by an average of ten per cent, we are confident that the upward trend is set to continue and even more tourists will holiday in Greece in 2014.”
The data also shows that tourism to the Greek capital is recovering.
The Greek islands, as well as parts of the mainland, continue to be a popular destination for timeshare owners. Both the leading holiday exchange organisations www.RCI.com and www.intervalworld.com feature a selection of Greek resorts within their international networks.
Following years of decline, international arrivals to Athens International Airport in October increased by 13.24 per cent. During the ten first months of the year, the total of arrivals rose 1.26 per cent, to 2,357,670 visitors.