Greece recorded an overall +12.6% increase in international airport arrivals in December 2016 over December 2015, according to the available data from the country's major airports. The road arrivals remained at about the same level as 2015 (up only +0.6%). The year 2016 closed with a total increase of +9.0%, or about +1.4 million arrivals in the country overall.
The increase in arrivals is also confirmed by the Bank of Greece's Frontier Survey, which is up 4.9% for the period January-November. Nevertheless, revenues for the same period are down by -6.6%. The drop in average per capita expenditure could be attributed to a generalized trend of lower expenditures worldwide, as well as to the increased use of last-minute offers due to Greece's delayed entry into the international tourism market for 2016.
There was a +12.6% increase in international airport arrivals in December 2016 over December 2015, according to the available data from the country's major airports. Crete recorded an increase in international airport arrivals of +39.5% in December 2016, compared to December 2015. Athens and Thessaloniki both showed increases, with +10.1% and +17.4% respectively. A +11.8% increase in domestic airport arrivals was seen in December 2016, compared to December 2015.
In December 2016, regional airports recorded an increase of 12%; Athens International Airport as a hub for domestic aircraft movements received 11.2% increase, Thessaloniki +13.8%, Cyclades +29.6%, Ionian +27.7% and Crete +19.3%. The Dodecanese also saw an increase of +6.8%.
During January-December period, Crete, and the Ionian and the Cycladic islands had respective increases in international airport arrivals of +13.0%, +13.2% and +11.3% respectively over the same period last year. Athens and Thessaloniki both showed increases with +8.9% and +10.8% respectively, while Kos, Samos and Lesvos were down by -11.2%, -23.0% and -57.2% respectively.
Arrivals are recorded by the local police stations based on nationality, irrespective of the permanent place of residence; consequently, the data include foreign migrants in Greece returning from trips abroad.
In December, road arrivals rose (+5.9%), with nearly 39,000 more than December 2015. Road arrivals of foreigners in December 2016 were up +113.8% from Albania, +8.0% from the Tripoint (Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey), up +2.6% from FYROM and up +4.4% from Turkey. Arrivals from Bulgaria saw a drop of -31.2%.
For the period January-December 2016, a drop of -7.9% was recorded from Bulgaria, while there was an increase from the Tripoint, Albania, Turkey and FYROM of +16.8% , +5.3%, +4.3% and+3.5%, respectively.
Tourism internationally continues to grow (IPK estimates an increase in international trips from European countries of +4% for 2017, and from Asian countries and the USA at +6%) and specific data for the upcoming season for Greece appear particularly encouraging with clear upward movement in incoming tourism, the continued delay in completing the 2nd bailout review and the general political and economic instability that is now directly affecting Greek markets, leave no room for complacency. Additionally, high taxation is directly affecting the competitiveness of Greek tourism and creating significant counter-incentives for labour and entrepreneurship.