Air arrivals rise by 760,000 in year to end-June

By Stathis Kousounis

An additional 760,000 tourists arrived by air in Greece in the first half of the year compared with January-June 2013, exceeding 5.2 million, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

This 17.1 percent increase tallies with SETE’s estimate for a total of 19 million tourism arrivals from abroad this year, including foreigners coming by road or sea. Another 2.2 million are expected to come to Greece on cruise ships.

Athens had the largest increase in air arrivals, which grew by a remarkable 400,000 passengers, or 32.8 percent year-on-year, to rise above 1.4 million. This will likely mean Athens International Airport will beat the original SETE forecast for an additional 750,000 arrivals throughout the year.

Iraklio reported 884,605 arrivals in the year to end-June, while Kalamata airport witnessed a 58.5 percent rise to 30,170 arrivals and Santorini drew 26 percent more visitors by air from abroad.