City breaks in Athens and the proliferation of short-term rentals helped boost international arrivals by 7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, while takings jumped almost 35 percent, according to Bank of Greece figures.
The main driver for this increase in revenues has been an increase in spending by tourists from the United States and Russia, which came to 113 percent and 75 percent respectively.
Travel takings in the January-March period came to 747 million euros, up 34.8 percent from the same quarter last year. The incoming traffic grew to 1.97 million passengers from 1.84 million in Q1 of 2018.
While traffic from Germany slid 9.6 percent to 177,000 visitors, British travelers rose 41.8 percent to 143,000 people and visitors from France expanded 42.8 percent to almost 55,000. Russian travelers increased 89.9 percent to 30,000 and brought revenues of 16 million euros, while US visitors rose 47.4 percent to 104,000 people, who paid 74 million euros.
These figures, however, are not a safe indication for the rest of the year as they mainly concern city visits that were absorbed by rentals on online platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway, while the first signs regarding bookings for July and August are far from encouraging.