By Vicky Kourlimbini
Mykonos, Santorini, Kos and Rhodes. Four of the top tourist destinations in the country are already starting this season with a record, full demand and high occupancy.
The data for the air traffic from the most important foreign markets for April and the first fortnight of May are indicative. The data come from the South Aegean Tourism Initiative (consisting of the South Aegean Region, the municipality of Rhodes and institutions of the Dodecanese and Cyclades) and show that the first fortnight ended, like the previous month, with more international direct arrivals, in relation to the corresponding period of the record year of 2019.
241 thousand passengers landed at the above four main international airports between May 1-15, compared to 230 thousand in 2019, while together with the arrivals at Karpathos International Airport, visitors to the South Aegean via international direct flights within the first fifteen days of May this year amount to 242 thousand.
According to the Initiative, the first months of the tourist season are now reminiscent of August 15th. Santorini airport records the largest increase compared to 2019 by 23%, receiving 33 thousand passengers in the first 15 days of May (26,714 in the corresponding period of 2019).
Rhodes, with daily arrivals of 14,000 passengers through 88 arrivals in one day only, exceeds the traffic of 2019 with an increase of 6.3%.
“We left behind 2019”
The days of the pandemic seem to have passed for Rhodes. The fact that the data so far show an increase in arrivals on the island of the Knights, even compared to 2019, was also pointed out. at yesterday’s event of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) “Greek Tourism 2030- Action Plans”, which was attended by the Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias. “We have left it behind in 2019 already. We are moving at a rate of 13% up until April 30 and up 6.5% so far in May”, noted the governor of the South Aegean, George Hatzimarkos.
The fullness is rising
In Crete, almost all hotels have opened, with occupancy rates ranging from around 70%. The course of bookings show that Crete will be fully booked in the summer. The levels in Paros, Corfu and Zakynthos are at the same levels.
Tourism entrepreneurs, officially, do not set goals for where tourism revenues will fluctuate this year. But optimism is widespread and forecasts say it is possible to fluctuate the revenue we had before the pandemic broke out. In 2019, it is recalled that revenues had exceeded 18 billion euros.
Hotel bookings and scheduled seats by airlines show that as we enter the tourist season, the performance gap between 2019 and this year will decrease, while passenger traffic is estimated to exceed that of 2019.
Revenue explosion in the quarter
The first income has already entered the tourist basket and it is not small. As they showed the data of the Bank of Greecein the first quarter, travel receipts jumped by 342.2% compared to the corresponding period of 2021 and amounted to 469.7 million euros.
In particular, receipts from Germany increased by 279.2% from France by 567.7% by 550.0% from the United Kingdom. Receipts from the US increased by 2,093.2% and amounted to 34.5 million euros.
During the same period, the incoming travel traffic increased by 295.8% and amounted to 1,072.7 thousand travelers, compared to 271 thousand travelers in the corresponding period of 2021.
In the quarter, according to INSETE, all geographical units record an increase in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019, with the exception of the geographical unit of Crete, where there was a decrease (-6 thousand / 26.8% ) while 17 thousand international air arrivals were recorded. International air arrivals at the airports of the Dodecanese amounted to 5 thousand compared to 310 in the corresponding period of 2019, recording an increase of +4 thousand / + 1364%. In the Cyclades there were 3 thousand arrivals showing an increase of +2 thousand / + 248%. In the geographical unit of the Ionian Islands, where an increase of +4 thousand / + 456% was recorded while 5 thousand arrivals were recorded. Finally, in the geographical unit of the Peloponnese there was an increase of +1 thousand / + 31.0% while air arrivals amounted to only 3 thousand.