Flying high for Greek tourism – The 12 islands that stood out this summer


There is no Greek island that did not attract a large volume of foreign visitors this year, industry officials point out. See which islands led the way in tourist arrivals

The foreign visitors to the Greek islands gave a vote of confidence again this year, with the figures so far showing increase in arrivals compared to 2019a record year for Greek tourism.

The Athenian Macedonian News Agency spoke with agencies from the islands that lead the way in tourist arrivals, without implying that the rest that are not presented in this report lagged behind in terms of bookings and traffic. There is no Greek island that did not attract a large volume of foreign visitors this year, industry officials point out. Starting from the cosmopolitan islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Patmos and Astypalaia, only positive findings are recorded.

Mykonos: Over 90% occupancy in summer

Mykonos ran with more than 90% occupancy throughout the summer months, while September also moved at the same levels. As far as October is concerned, the development of arrivals goes hand in hand with the termination of air connections from abroad, reports, among others, Andreas Fiorentinos, head of the NT Tourism thematic sector and former president of the hoteliers on the island of the winds. Giving the island’s stamp on the summer season, he pointed out to APE-MPE that July and August moved with 90% occupancy and expressed the opinion that the results of arrivals will be better than in 2019. Regarding the traffic at the island’s airport, it was highlighted that so far it has received 677,000 thousand visitors compared to 750,000 air arrivals in 2019.

Santorini: 102% increase in air arrivals in the eight months of this year

As far as Santorini is concerned, only from air traffic to domestic and international arrivals, in the period January-August it exceeded by 103% in 2021 and specifically: 1,961,175 in 2022 against 966,067 in the previous same period. It should be noted that the comparison with 2021 is made because Santorini proved its “endurance” against the pandemic last year as well, as the island’s authorities say. The biggest increases were in February with almost 120%, in March with almost 200%, in April with over 450% and in May with over 250%, while in June it exceeded 90%. This alone demonstrates that the goal of extending the tourist season has been achieved and it looks like the season will last for at least another two months, they explain.

Paros: And in October the season continues

One after another record in tourism is recorded by Paros which has already exceeded the figures of 2019. The arrivals of June show that over 120,000 arrivals were measured by sea and air with increases compared to June 2019 that exceed 40%. Specifically, in June this year, 23,305 people arrived on the island by air compared to 16,945 in the same month of 2019, marking an impressive increase of 37.5%. At the same time, 7 private aircraft arrivals from the interior and 2 from abroad were recorded. In the same month, the number of tourists who visited the island by ship reached 100,000, marking an increase compared to the arrivals of the corresponding month of 2019 by 5% – 7%, which means that this June was the best in terms of arrivals to date in Paros. The official statistics of the State Airport of Paros show that the air arrivals of visitors to the island in the last two summer months of 2022, showed a significant increase compared to the corresponding months of 2019. While in July and August 2019, 22,307 had arrived on the island by air and 22,832 people respectively, during the same months this year, 28,652 and 27,459 visitors arrived. The flights that took place to the island in July 2022 were 589 and in August 596. From the figures of arrivals it can be deduced that the tourists who landed on Paros during this year’s summer high season were considerably more than in 2019. In percentage terms, the increase for this year’s July was 28% and for this year’s August 20%. In any case, the season continues at an unabated rate and is expected to go beyond October as well, as emphasized.

Patmos: Occupancy in accommodation in August this year surpassed 2019

The “Island of the Apocalypse” in recent years has emerged as a destination that attracts high-end visitors, which was also seen this summer, as the number of visitors exceeded the figures of 2019. “In Patmos, this year’s September will be particularly productive touristically with higher traffic. We have shaped a multi-faceted narrative with “vehicle” UNESCO world heritage sites, our award-winning beaches, tradition, religion, culture, local cuisine and activities. The development projects we are launching are aimed at enhancing the cruise and the accessibility of our visitors, elements that are already visible from the current year”, explains the Mayor of Patmos, Lefteris Pentas.

Astypalaia: 52% rise in air arrivals and correspondingly 7.4% by sea in the eight months of this year

Arriving imaginably on the island of the butterfly, Astypalaia, it was emphasized that “this year, it has achieved an impressive increase of 52% in air arrivals and correspondingly 7.4% by coastal ferry from May to August compared to 2019, while the tourist season also expands in September . Despite the difficulties of the tourism industry mainly due to punctuality, the tourist season moved at excellent levels. For the first time, Astypalaia enters the tourist “map” so dynamically and attracts visitors from abroad, thanks to the quality of professional services, the improvement of accessibility from islands with international airports, as well as the strategy to “marry” sustainability, authenticity and experiential experiences”, says the Mayor of Astypalaia, Nikos Komineas. In the rest of the islands of the Cyclades, the messages broadcast by the agencies of Milos, Naxos, Ios, Tinos, Andros and Sifnos in APE-MPE are positive.

Mylos: Tourist traffic surpasses the records of 2019

In Milos, the forecasts that saw the tourist traffic surpassing the records of 2019 have been completely confirmed so far, since even last year Milos in the second half of the summer season caught the numbers of the pre-Covid era, emphasizes Averkios Gaitanis, president of the tourism development and development committee projection.

Naxos: September October bookings at high levels

“Naxos is making consecutive records every month, surpassing all precedents in coastal arrivals. Already for the period May – August there has been an increase of 7.3%, while interest is maintained at high levels for the whole of September and part of October. This year the “sceptres” are held by tourists from abroad, mainly from America, France, England, Italy, Germany and other markets. Without a doubt, the broad tourist “product” of Naxos, which covers every preference for relaxation, fun, activities and gastronomy, “leads” in our appeal and has contributed to this year’s success”, says the Deputy Mayor for Tourism of the Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades Vangelis Katsaras .

Ios: This year surpassed 2019 arrivals from May to August

“Ios this year surpassed 2019 arrivals from May to August, despite the high cost of travel due to the energy crisis. It is encouraging that the traveling public is responding to our messages and focusing on experiences such as gastronomy, trails, culture and marine tourism, along with fun and relaxation. The traffic is maintained to a satisfactory degree in September as well with an increase in the demand for weddings on the Cycladic island of Homer”, points out the Mayor of Ieton, Gikas Gikas.

Tinos: managed to do the miracle again this year

Tinos once again managed to stand out and achieve all its goals for the current tourist season, the island’s mayor Yiannis Siotos emphasizes to APE-MPE. The good start was seen from the start of the tourist season, where it showed that 2022 will be a record year for the island even compared to the successful 2019. In the summer we had increases, both in arrivals and revenues and in the autumn, the occupancy has exceeded 70%, which is unprecedented for Tinos.

According to the existing reservations, October will also be good. All of the above proves that the goal of extending the tourist season is being achieved. This result is due to the targeted effort we made, both to identify the groups of interest and to strengthen the markets with particularly qualitative characteristics, such as the American one. As well as targeted tourist promotion and the preservation of the special identity of the island with an emphasis on the protection of the environment and the promotion of local culture, says the mayor.

Andros: Strong months May and June

“Although the travel capacity of Greeks shrank this year for economic reasons, Andros presented a new dynamic with a 20% increase in arrivals from May to August and indeed with over 54% off season for May and June, compared to 2021. September is developing positively with our quality features “starring” such as the impressive 100 km walking network, the alternation of mountain and coastal landscape, our centuries-old monasteries and the local gastronomy”, concludes the Deputy Mayor of Tourism of the Municipality of Andros, Nikos Moustakas.

Sifnos: Coastal arrivals to surpass 2019

The Mayor of Sifnos, Marias Nadali, conveys that “the season in Sifnos is progressing in a very positive way, with ferry arrivals surpassing 2019. September shows equally satisfactory occupancy rates, while an increase in the number of organized groups is also observed. In the direction of expanding the tourist season, we contribute with initiatives such as the organization of the 14th Cycladic Gastronomy Festival “Nikolaos Tselemendes” September 22-24, which will highlight gastronomy, tradition, culture and natural beauty”.

Lipsi: Stand out for sustainability actions

The last and 12th station of the report is Leipsi, which have stood out for their sustainability actions. Specifically, as the Mayor of Leipsos, Fotis Maggos, emphasizes, “this year, Leipsos exceeded the “barrier” of 2019 in coastal boat arrivals and their traffic is 25% higher than last year. Our call for a “green” way of vacation without organized sunbeds had a great impact on Greeks and foreigners. The Italians overran the island once again, while we also had visitors from markets such as France and Great Britain. The tourist flows continue in September and in fact leading to remarkable occupancy rates, up to 90%”.

In any case, the “fund” will be made at the end of the year, as it is emphasized, and the goal is to help tourism businesses recover after the difficult years of the Pandemic, as well as the increase in energy costs.


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