Australian tourists are expected to flock to Greece this year, after the Australian government announced the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, after nearly two years of ban.
Greece’s Tourism Minister, Vassilis Kikilias, shared the news during a meeting with the Australian ambassador by also welcoming the decision that will affect the industry, TheSchengen.com reports.
“Australia will lift travel restrictions on vaccinated citizens from February 21, and is expected to significantly increase Australian tourist flows to Greece in 2022,” Kakilias noted.
Accordingly, as the Australian government lifted the restrictions, the Greek authorities also scrapped the requirement to provide a COVID-19 test for all fully vaccinated Australians.
Moreover, Australian Ambassador to Greece, Arthur Spiro, also shared his vision for the country’s tourism season, which is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels. He said the 2022 tourism season will be a “very successful tourism year”.
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In addition, Spiro noted that booking numbers show a significant increase in the number of Australian travelers planning to visit the Republic of Greece.
According to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of Australian tourists has increased in the past two years, reaching around 320,000 since 2017, nearly 70 percent more than in 2016.
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Besides Australians, Greece is also a favorite destination for European travelers, as revealed by the European Travel Commission (ETC) in its recent reports.
According to the authority, although Greece ranked lower compared to last year, just behind Italy, Spain, France and Germany, it is still one of the top five destinations for German, Italian, Belgian, Polish and Austrian nationals.
The country won acclaim for being a leader in tourism last year when other countries were imposing strict lockdowns in a bid to protect public health from COVID-19. According to several travel organizations, including the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Greece has managed to welcome one of the largest numbers of tourists compared to other European countries considering the fact that the entire world has been trying to combat the ongoing pandemic.
Data from the Bank of Greece shows that the number of international arrivals rose by 96.8 percent in the period from January to November 2021, compared to the corresponding time in 2020.
The majority of this increase was observed in German visitors, who showed an increase of 95.2 percent, i.e. 2.9 million. Followed by France, where the number of arrivals increased by 148.6 percent compared to the previous year – about 1.2 million of them.