Tourist Season 2022: The total comeback of Greece’s “heavy industry”

The resurgence of tourism marks the total recovery of the Greek economy, as all indications are that revenues will surpass those of record-year 2019

The resurgence of tourism, what many call Greece’s heavy industry, signals the total recovery of the Greek economy, as everything shows that revenues will exceed those of 2019, which was a record year.

Specifically, travel receipts – according to industry authorities – may even top 20 billion euros, a level that even the most optimistic pundits did not expect.

Many destinations are already confirming the recovery of the sector after two difficult years, with the figures showing that the target of approaching the results of 2019 has already been achieved and is now breaking one record after another.


Rhodes more than doubled the growth rate recorded during the first months of the season to 18% with 173,205 passengers, compared to 146,605 in the first ten days of July 2019. Kos also surpassed 2019’s performance for the corresponding period by 13%, attracting 83,667 in just ten days, from 73,766 in the year before the pandemic.

As reports, the data from the two international airports of the Dodecanese point in the same direction. With a total of 2,403 flights in just the first ten days of July, Rhodes receives an average of 106 aircraft per day, Kos 54, remaining unaffected by the delays and cancellations at international airports abroad for the time being. In the period January-June 2022, 854 thousand international air arrivals were registered at Rhodes airport, showing an increase of 56 thousand or 7.0%. The impressive figures do not even include the arrivals with connections from the airports of Greece.


Tourist traffic to the Cyclades islands is running at a pace that surpasses the figures of 2019 this year, with August sealing the record year for the islands, but also overall for most Greek destinations. This is at least reflected in their statements by island representatives to the Athens News Agency, with August being the peak of the tourist stream for the Greek islands.

Focusing on the islands of the Cyclades, they are a pole of attraction for almost all the main markets of the country. English, French, Italian, but also Americans have flooded the islands of the Cyclades this year, while the Greeks also cast a vote of confidence. Mykonos and Santorini, every year, are a point of reference for the Greek tourist product. This year, in fact, they are the star of tourist arrivals, and especially in August, finding a free room on either is a difficult task.

July 2022 closed with a positive sign for Mykonos. Both from the point of view of traffic and booking levels, we can consider that Mykonos has won the bet of quick recovery after the pandemic to a remarkable extent. August again, is the month of last minute bookings for the island. This trend has prevailed in recent years. In other words, there may be beds available and the next moment they “disappear”.

At the same time, with the occupancy approaching 100% in August, Santorini is a stable value in the tourism sector, since it managed not only to maintain its strength, but also to record an impressive increase compared to the very good performance of 2019. It proved that it has a strong foothold in the global travel market, which was shown by its excellent performance in the “difficult” years for tourism, 2020 and 2021, says the mayor of the island, Antonis Sigalas.

“We are firmly oriented to strengthen the position of Santorini as a luxury destination and to accelerate the development of special tourism”, he said among other things. Both Naxos and Paros have their own audiences inside and outside of Greece, which last year also managed to stand out in terms of arrivals, while this year they are also setting new arrivals records.


From the figures for the months of June and July so far, it seems that the cruise is “returning” to Chania, with the dynamics of the pre-pandemic period.

It is typical that according to the data of the Hellenic Ports Association, in total in 2021 in Chania, 76 arrivals with 45,619 passengers were recorded, in 2020 only 10 arrivals with 105 passengers, in 2019 132 arrivals with 265,956 passengers were recorded.

In 2018, 78 ships with 139,944 passengers arrived in Souda, in 2017 the number of ships was 84 and the passengers 128,067. In 2016, 86 ships arrived with 147,915 passengers and in 2015, arrivals were 59 and passengers 96,612.

At the same time, an all-time record of arrivals for the month of July was recorded by the airport of Heraklion “N. Kazantzakis”, with foreign arrivals surpassing those of 2019, while August is set to be spectacular as well, with authorities estimating that arrivals will reach 600,000. At the same time, hotels are full and bookings show that by October it is likely that the loss of Russian and Ukrainian tourists will be covered and they will “touch” the levels of 2019.

At the “N. Kazantzakis” airport, as the airport master Giorgos Pliakas stated, last July there were 692,591 foreign arrivals and 64,129 domestic arrivals, in relation to 2019 these numbers are up by 7% and approximately 1.5% compared to 2019, when in the corresponding month we had 646,822 foreign arrivals and 62,524 domestic arrivals . Traffic at Heraklion airport is clearly higher, by 42% and 35%, respectively, compared to July 2021, when there were 514,848 foreign arrivals and 49,672 domestic flights.

As Mr. Pliakas mentioned, in 2022, until this point, at the airport of Heraklion we had 1,810,793 arrivals, which exceed those of 2019, while the previous month brought record arrivals at the largest airport of Crete. In fact, as he noted, this August, the scheduled seats on foreign flights are 876,000. If we assume that flight occupancy reaches 75% – 80%, then Mr. Pliakas estimates that by the end of the month we will have another 600,000 arrivals.


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