A strong wave of last-minute bookings at most of Greece’s popular tourist resorts since last month has rekindled hope among industry representatives that 2016 will produce positive results in terms of visitor numbers and revenues.
According to data published on Wednesday by the Greek Tourism Federation (SETE), international arrivals at the country’s main airports were up by 9.1 percent in July compared to the same month in 2015.
The total number of arrivals reached 3.3 million. There was also a rise of 1.6 percent in the number of road arrivals, taking the total for July to 1.9 million.
For the period between January and July, international arrivals rose by 6.4 percent against the same period last year. The total number of people landing in Greece topped 9 million during these seven months.
As for road arrivals, there was an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period, leading to a total of some 6 million.
SETE said that the surge in last-minute bookings means that there is a strong likelihood that the target the association set at the start of the year, for an increase of 6 percent in arrivals over the course of the whole year, can be achieved.
The federation doubts, though, that there will be an equivalent increase in the revenues earned by the Greek tourism sector.
SETE expressed concern that the increase in taxation faced by tourism businesses will largely cancel out the rise in arrivals.
During the first seven months of the year, the biggest increases in arrivals were at Kalamata Airport (22.5 percent), Aktion in Preveza (18.7 percent), Santorini (14.4 percent), Corfu (12.8 percent) and Iraklio (12.2 percent).
There was also a rise of 5.6 percent in the number of passengers arriving at Athens International Airport.
However, the islands that have been most affected by the refugee crisis saw decreases in arrivals between January and July.
Arrivals on Lesvos were down 62.7 percent, Samos saw a fall of 29.7 percent and Kos recorded a decline of 15.9 percent.