TOURISM

US tourists flock to Greece

Why the local tourism industry expects American visitors to reach levels unseen since 2019

US tourists flock to Greece

Indications are growing that tourism from the US in Greece this year will approach the levels of 2019, and even exceed them if the international geopolitical uncertainties are lifted.

In fact the benefit for Greek tourism enterprises and the national economy will be far greater, as according to 2021 data the Americans have doubled their average per capita spending to $1,500; that amount only concerns their holiday spending, excluding air tickets and accommodation. Their presence has already been noted at major hotels in Athens, as well as Attica’s archaeological sites and museums, while some have pointed to their numbers being higher than ever.

At end-March, per the data processed by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE), active air bookings for trips from the US to Greece reached the same level as at at the same point of 2019. Greece actually appears to have recovered a bigger share of its pre-pandemic incoming traffic from the US, in comparison with other Southern European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.

A recent survey by Tourix, based on Google data, shows that most searches for tourism destinations in Greece come from the US, followed by the UK, France and Germany. In 2019 travel takings from the US lagged only those from Germany and Britain. It is therefore no surprise major US airlines have scheduled a record number of direct flights to Greece for this season: An estimated maximum of 22,000 seats per week is expected for flights from the US to Greece this summer.

Greek tourism industry sources attribute that growth to a variety of factors: Greece is no longer viewed as the black sheep of Europe, and from the negative image that was projected over the previous decade it has evolved into a success story of economic recovery, political stability and health safety during the pandemic; US travelers who choose Europe are interested in cultural tourism, where Greece is a leader, special effort has been made by the Greek government to promote Greece and its achievements, and the Greek product has now been upgraded significantly.