The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) said that this year it expects a record-breaking 30 million international visitors to Greece. This means a growth rate of 7%, or an additional 2 million additional visitors over the previous year. 900,000 U.S. travelers are expected to visit Greece this year.
For the last two years, Greece’s growth has been nearly twice the global industry average of 3.9 percent, as reported by the UNWTO in January 2017.
The WTTC estimates that tourism in 2017 will help boost the Greek economy by 6.9 percent, and will boost employment by 6.3 percent, supporting nearly 1 million jobs and representing 20% of the country’s GDP. One in five jobs created in Greece is related to the tourism sector. Tourism is essential to Greece’s effort for recovery and prosperity.
To quote Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, “We are very optimistic about the upcoming tourist season and our continued momentum,” said. „Greece’s incomparable natural beauty, ancient history, vibrant urban culture and spirit of ‘philotimo’ make it one of the world’s most unique and desired year-round destinations.”
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General, rendered his full support of Greece and GNTO while visiting Athens earlier this year. Rifai said, “Greece is one of the most popular and attractive global destinations, which enhances its international appeal and continues to record high performance.”
Greece has always been known as a classic destination, but recently, it’s been distinguished as the new, must-go experience destination for 2017. Recognition includes Athens as one of the New York Times „52 Places to Go in 2017,” and Santorini was named the #1 Island Overall in Travel + Leisure’s annual „World’s Best Awards.” New flights and connections will make traveling to Greece much easier in 2017, including daily year-round service by Emirates to Athens from Newark Liberty International Airport. Destinations such as Kos, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Kephalonia, Zakynthos, Aktio and Thessaloniki now have direct flights or connections to a larger number of European cities, as well as the U.S., China, India, Russia and Israel.