Tourism arrivals close to 23 mln

The total number of visitors to Greece this year will end up at around 23 million, according to the latest estimates by the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), exceeding even the most optimistic forecasts regarding tourism in 2014.

SETE has just incorporated October data into its projections for the year that now point to 20.5 arrivals from abroad, not including cruise visitors.

However the association is not ruling out the possibility that non-cruise visitor arrivals will rise further this year if provisional Bank of Greece figures regarding an additional 1.2 million road and coastal shipping arrivals in July and August are confirmed. If that is the case, SETE estimates that non-cruise arrivals will exceed 21 million this year, against 17.9 million in 2013 and 15.5 million in 2012.

SETE also notes that cruise passenger arrivals, which original projections had shown would remain stagnant this year from 2013, in fact posted an increase of some 100,000 in the first half of the year, while they are expected to climb to 2.5 million for the whole of 2014, from 2.2 million last year.

SETE head Andreas Andreadis commented that despite the deterioration in the economic climate in Europe and Russia, Greece is expected to enter the world’s top 15 tourism destinations.

Data from the country’s main airports in the first 10 months of the year point to 15 percent growth in tourism arrivals from abroad as they came to 14 million, from 12.2 million in the January-October 2013 period. The biggest annual increase by far was observed at Kalamata Airport (72.3 percent), followed by the air terminals on Myconos (39 percent), in Athens (29.4 percent) and on Santorini (26.9 percent). In absolute figures however the greatest rise was at Athens International Airport, which saw an increase of 700,000 passengers.

In October alone, air arrivals from abroad broke the 1-million barrier, posting annual growth of 23.5 percent, with a 200 percent rise at Kalamata Airport and a 38.6 percent increase at Athens Airport.

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