According to the Central Bank of Greece, between January and the end of August, there were 22.65 million visitors to the Mediterranean country, which is famous for its Aegean islands and ancient sites such as the Acropolis of Athens. This represents an 18.4% increase from the same period last year.
The number of tourists in Greece is Above 2019
The number of visitors during the first nine months of the year surpasses the previous record of 21.84 million tourists set in 2019. However, COVID-19 will significantly impact the tourism industry in 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately, the 2023 season was also marked by devastating fires fueled by one of the longest heatwaves that Greece has experienced. These fires, caused by temperatures exceeding 46°C, have ravaged key tourist destinations like Rhodes Island in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea (southeast) and Corfu in the Ionian Sea (northwest). Despite being the driving force of the Greek economy, the tourism industry was severely affected by these disasters.
50.3% jump in American tourists
In July, thousands of people, including many tourists, had to be evacuated from two islands due to advancing flames. In August, violent fires hit the country again.
In August, which typically marks the peak of the tourist season on the Mediterranean, foreign tourists reached 6.48 million, an increase of 10.4% compared to 2022. However, in August 2019, the number of tourists was slightly higher, at 6.76 million.
This year, there was a significant increase in tourists to Greece from the United States, with a jump of 50.3% in August compared to 2022.
Birth of the "Beach Towel Movement" initiative
Tourism contributes to almost a quarter of the country's GDP. However, in certain islands, there are concerns about "overtourism" and the high prices charged in destinations like Mykonos and Santorini in Cyclades. During the summer, a citizen initiative called the "beach towel movement" emerged to raise awareness about the overuse of several beaches where visitors rented parasols and deck chairs at exorbitant daily rates.