An explosion of arrivals in May – The traffic at Chania and Heraklion airports
May starts with the best prospects for foreign tourist traffic. According to the recovery tracker of the Institute of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, in the first week of May the number of scheduled international inbound flights reached 577 thousand seats, an increase of 26% compared to the last week of April (24-30 April), when scheduled seats amounted to 459 thousand.
The United Kingdom remains the main “reservoir” of foreign tourists. In fact, the number of seats scheduled from the British market doubled in the first week of May. It is followed by the German, French, Italian, Cypriot, German, Israeli, Dutch, Turkish and Belgian markets.
In terms of the busiest airports, Athens and Thessaloniki lead the way, followed by Rhodes, Chania, Corfu, Santorini, Kos, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Kalamata and Aktion.
As we move into the tourist season, more and more airlines are stepping up their planning, with very positive signals coming from key foreign markets. Destinations are starting to fill up and tour operators and airlines are increasing their schedules due to the high demand for Greece.
For example, the airline Volotea is expanding its presence in the Greek market with eight new routes to and from Greece and 1.4 million seats, a figure that is 28% higher than in 2019 and 12% higher than in 2022. At the same time, it is extending its codeshare agreement with Aegean to 93 routes in 2023.
It is also worth noting that Tui UK is adding an additional 250,000 seats from UK airports to Greece in its 2024 summer schedule.
Record numbers of British tourists
The impressive increase in British tourist arrivals and revenues was highlighted by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and British Ambassador to Greece Matthew Lodge at a recent meeting.
The Tourism Minister estimated that 2023 will be an even better year than last year, with the number of tourists from the UK expected to exceed 4 million, due to the increase in flights this year and the addition of new destinations. The British Ambassador also supported this estimate, noting that all the data shows that Greece will set a new record for the number of British travellers in 2023.
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