Greece is recovering Covid-19 related losses fast approaching pre-pandemic 2019 levels in terms of arrivals and revenues, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias citing the latest Bank of Greece data.

Speaking to Euronews, Kikilias said arrival and revenue figures were “impressive” despite lack of visitors from the key markets of Russia, China and Ukraine.

“Our two main goals: extending the tourist season and attracting higher-spending travelers have been achieved,” the minister said.

Referring to central bank data, Kikilias said all signs were indicating that a good season lies ahead and that Greece was fast approaching pre-pandemic 2019 record levels despite challenges on several fronts including Covid, the Russia-Ukraine war, the energy crisis and inflationary pressures while at the same time short of key source markets such as Russia and China.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias. (archive photo)

He went on to add, however, that other markets, such as France, Israel, Serbia, Romania, the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries were filling in the gaps.

Indicatively, according to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), a total of 14 million passengers flew into Greece in the first five months of the year marking a 377.7 percent increase compared to the same period in 2021 (2.93 million passengers) and recouping 86 percent of pre-Covid levels.

At the same time, an 884.3 percent increase in inbound traveler flows in April boosted travel receipts up by 1,000.4 percent year‑on‑year.

Airline seat capacity expected to reach 1.8 million by July 10

plane air passengers

Additionally, according to data provided by the SETE Intelligence (INSETE) recovery tracker, a total of 879,069 airline seats have been planned for this week (June 27-July 3) and 939,943 for the week after to July 10 or a total of 1,819,012 seats, which if filled would account for 1.81 million visitors to Greece in a two-week period.

Moreover, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Vice President Christina Tetradi echoed Kikilias telling the Athens News Agency (ANA) that airport activity was rising sharply with Athens Airport in the lead expecting 484,155 scheduled airline seats from June 27 to July 10, followed by the airports of Heraklio, Crete (271,323 scheduled seats) and Rhodes (213,754 scheduled seats).

Markets driving activity in the given period are the UK with 397,298 scheduled seats for Greece, Germany (345,927 seats), Italy (208,759 seats), and France (133,874 seats).