Greece predicts record tourist numbers for 2016

First there was the economic crash, then the migrant crisis but somehow Greece has overcome those problems to look forward to a record number of holiday-makers to its shores next year.

Greece set to defy its own economic austerity and the migrant crisis by welcoming   record numbers of holiday-makers in 2016

Greece set to defy its own economic austerity and the migrant crisis by welcoming record numbers of holiday-makers in 2016 Image by Horia Varlan / CC BY 2.0

Even the recent VAT hikes its beleaguered Government has been forced to put on tourism-related services seems to have made no difference as the country reports an 11% increase in visitor numbers from January to August in 2015 over the previous year's level.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that 25 million tourists will visit Greece according to best estimates for the year which is a jump of three million on previous year’s numbers.

Santorini, Greece.

Santorini, Greece. Image by Edward Dalmulder / CC BY 2.0

The Minister for Tourism said the migrant crisis had not really impacted on holidays. Elena Kountera told an audience at the World Travel Market in London that even on islands most affected, tourist numbers were still strong.

She pointed out that Kos welcomed just 3% fewer holiday-makers up to August this year, while remarkably Lesbos, in the eye of the migrant arrivals, has actually seen tourist numbers increase by 2%.The minister said her optimism for 2016 was based on an expectancy that Greece would benefit from the unrest over terrorism in the Middle East and across North Africa.

She pointed out that Tunisia was a virtual no-go to British holiday makers who would travel on the back of a strong sterling.

She said her country had over 200 inhabited islands but most of them were virtually unknown which meant that there was the opportunity to grow their tourist potential.

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