Med hot: Greece expects UK visitor numbers to keep rising in 2017

Med hot: Greece expects UK visitor numbers to keep rising in 2017

Surging numbers of Brits are holidaying in Greece, thanks to the country’s value for money, new airline services and infrastructure improvements. In 2015, Greece saw a 15% increase in UK arrivals, and figures for the first half of 2016 show the upwards trend is continuing, with a 13% year-on-year increase, to 928,000 UK visitors.

Christina Kalogera, Director of the UK & Ireland Office of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, said: “With a number of new flights and hotel openings already announced, Greece is looking forward to welcoming even more UK visitors to its islands and mainland resorts in 2017.”

She added: “Greece is a great destination offering good value for money. It is a safe destination, with great weather, amazing landscapes, warm hospitality and a fascinating history and culture.

“We are continuing to improve and widen our products and we strongly believe that despite recent geopolitical and other developments in other destinations, Greece is growing independently and will continue to go from strength to strength.

“We are also seeing a steady increase in visitor numbers in the shoulder months, as Greece is not just another sea-and-sun destination but a country with many different types of holidays.”

Summer 2016 saw the launch of several services from Ryanair, Jet2, Thomas Cook, British Airways and Norwegian, to new Greek destinations such as Thasos island in northern Greece, Kalamata in southern Greece and Chania in Crete.

Next summer is looking promising too, with new services by Ryanair, Jet2 and Thomson to Crete, and more regional departures from Jet2 to Halkidiki.

The GNTO will return to World Travel Market London (7-9 November 2016) to build on this momentum and highlight its co-funded marketing campaigns. It is also the sponsor of WTM London’s press centre.

“Through our jointly-funded marketing activity with UK tour operators and with tailor-made campaigns of our own targeting different types of travellers, we work to raise awareness of Greece as a holiday destination,” said Kalogera.

“These campaigns utilise online and offline channels, aiming to promote tourism to Greece during the lesser visited shoulder months, introduce off-the-beaten track destinations and to promote authentic Greek experiences targeting niche markets including food and wine, city breaks, soft adventure and walking holidays. “As well as these, weddings and honeymoons, luxury and wellness will continue to be areas of focus for 2017.”

She said adverse publicity about migrants seems not to have had a major impact on the UK market to the north eastern Aegean islands. Bookings in the year to July 2016 show numbers from the UK to Samos grew by more than 35% while numbers to Kos are down by approximately 2%. “The north eastern Aegean islands have so much to offer visitors and we will continue to promote their wide tourism portfolio throughout 2017,” added Kalogera.

Greece will also benefit from investment in its travel infrastructure, with a new airport on Paros, which is expected to handle four times the traffic of the previous airport.

A number of luxury hotels, villas and resorts are also set to open in 2017, on Greece’s islands and in Athens.

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