The number of visitors coming into Greece by road is slipping this year after coming to 8.8 million in 2018. These visitors accounted for 29 percent of the total of 30.3 million (without cruise passengers) who visited the country last year, according to a new study by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE) on the prospects of tourism by road this year.
Data for 2019 show a drop in road visitors every month so far on a year-on-year basis, with the total in H1 coming to 536,000 visitors, or 12 percent below the first half of 2018.
The picture, however, varies depending on the entry point into Greece, as arrivals from Albania have reverted to positive levels since May, while those from Bulgaria have dropped steadily by more than 10 percent since the start of the year. Road arrivals from North Macedonia showed an annual increase in April and June, and a decline in the other months, while visitors from Turkey reversed a negative start to the year, showing an increase since March.
According to the study, a key feature among tourists entering Greece by road is flexibility, meaning that they like being able to change their destination at will, without worrying about cancellation fees, as is the case when traveling by air. Consequently, economic sentiment in visitors’ countries of origin is crucial to their holiday choices, even though in the case of Turkey, road visitors have been increasing in the last few months despite serious financial problems in that country.
The six markets that accounted for over 90 percent of road visits to Greece – Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia – accounted for 11.4 percent of revenues from incoming tourism last year.
Interestingly, Greece ranks first among those markets’ preferred destinations, according to 2017 data, with the exception of Romania, where Greece trails neighboring Hungary, just as it did in 2016.