Land arrivals led tourism higher last year


Arrivals in Greece by land were the main factor in tourism growth reaching record levels in 2015, according to January-September data released on Monday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

Arrivals in Greece came to almost 26 million last year, according to estimates, while in the first nine months of the year the data showed 20.6 million visitors, up 8.6 percent from the almost 19 million in the same period in 2014.

Land arrivals outperformed, growing by 13.9 percent year-on-year in that period to exceed 7 million, and represented 34 percent of all arrivals in the year to end-September.

Tourism associations say that the rise in land arrivals makes it necessary to improve Greece’s entry points, as well as to boost personnel and the services offered there. They say it also forces Greece to better promote destinations that are ideal for visitors from neighboring countries traveling to by land.

Air arrivals in the first nine months of 2015 grew by an annual 6.7 percent to exceed 13 million. Air arrivals accounted for 63.4 percent of all arrivals and Athens International Airport grabbed the biggest slice of traffic (16.1 percent), followed by Iraklio on Crete (10.8 percent) and Rhodes (8.2 percent).

The two biggest markets in terms of arrivals as well as expenditure in Greece were once again Germany and Britain: German visitors came to 2.39 million, rising 17.8 percent in the January-September period, while British arrivals rose above 2.1 million, climbing 17.5 percent year-on-year. US visitors rose a spectacular 35.3 percent to 660,000.