Greece’s Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, said this week that American tourist arrivals have increased by 50% compared to 2019 numbers. He also said overall arrivals and receipts in many areas of the country are up. On the downside, COVID cases are up across Greece even as the booming tourist success brings a positive note.
Kikilias credited much hard work in the off-season and the Greece tourism industry’s service reputation for the increases. He also pointed out the impact of an agreement with American Airlines for 63 weekly non-stop flights from the U.S. to El. Venizelos, as bearing on the increased arrivals.
A report from Travel Daily News Greece & Cyprus revealed a huge increase in tourists from Romania and Serbia, which Greek spokespersons claim compensated for losses of Russian and Ukraine travelers. China’s continued COVID closure was also mentioned, with regard to Greece tourism effects.
Kikilias was also quoted saying Greece is now the top favorite destination for travelers from France and Italy recently. Meanwhile, TimeOut reports that COVID cases are once again on the rise at European destinations, including Greece. Thankfully, the increases seem to be of the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which are more contagious than previous strains, but thanks to vaccination rates, serious cases do not seem to be on the rise.
The most recent Greek government figures tell of 13,306 new cases in the past 24 hours and 13,623 new cases per million of the population in the past week. According to the weekly report, the change in viral load in wastewater in some places has more than doubled over last week’s figures (132% for Larissa). EODY has changed the way COVID is reported, so making sense of the news reports (in Greek) ends up a bit confusing. Most cities and islands across Greece now have COVID incidence rates above 100 per 100,000 people.