Greek government and tourism industry officials say they are confident the number of visiting tourists will continue to rise this year now that pandemic-related restrictions have effectively lifted.
Many of the visitors who arrived in Athens in June said they were pleased to be able to travel again after COVID-19 measures had eased.
Remembering how the pandemic was and seeing everything so empty and dead, it’s nice to see that everything is picking up again, said a tourist from Colombia as she visited the Acropolis.
Another tourist, a woman from Switzerland travelling with her friend from Portugal, said they were happy to be in Greece, only a few months after taking in the sights in the Dominican Republic.
But challenges and uncertainty cast shadows over the post-pandemic landscape. And a full global recovery could take as long as the catastrophe itself.
Greece’s minister for tourism himself recently expressed caution about the impact of external factors on the rising visitor numbers.
He told state-run television that the war in Ukraine, inflation and the energy crisis – coupled with an upsurge in Greek-Turkish tensions – could create multiple challenges for the tourism sector.
Greece received a record 34 million visitors in 2019, followed by 7.4 million visitors in 2020 and 14.7 million last year, according to data from the Bank of Greece.
Before the pandemic, tourism as a direct contribution accounted for 12.5% of the national economy, according to the research institute of the Confederation of Greek Tourism.