Greece’s Tourism Expected to Boom in 2022

Greece is gearing up for what is expected to be an outstanding year in travel for the entire country. 

The Greek Tourism Ministry is anticipating the sector will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, as officials are working closely with industry leaders to ensure it’s a record year across the board. 

In 2019, over 33 million visitors arrived in Greece, up from 24 million in 2015, making it one of the most visited countries in Europe and the world.  

And according to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, this year will see a booming comeback with new projects including upgrading important tourism infrastructure, setting up a crisis management task force, and new training programs for tourism professionals.

The Ministry also stressed the importance of highlighting Greece as a year-round destination, extending the tourism season, promoting lesser-known destinations, attracting higher-quality tourists, promoting cruise travel, attracting tourism investment, as well as focusing on sustainable tourism practices.

So far, the government has approved projects including upgrades to tourist ports, development of winter and mountain tourism, development of wellness and health tourism, training programs for tourism employees, agri-food and gastronomy tourism, diving and underwater tourism as well as making beaches more accessible to those with disabilities. 

According to trade publication Travel Pulse, a recent survey by tour operators worldwide revealed key travel trends and top destinations for 2022, with Europe leading the way. Italy is currently ranking as the number one place of interest, Greece, and France tying second, and Ireland coming in at number three.

In another report just released by Greek tourism research group Tourix, Athens is also attracting more and more interest from the United States, Israel, and Cyprus.

Greece Approves New Tourism Projects Worth 320 Million Euros

Greece’s Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced the Greek government’s approval of new tourism projects and investments budgeted at 320 million euros, to be funded by the European Union’s Greece 2.0 Recovery and Resilience Plan.

With a focus on winter and mountain tourism, wellness and health, gastronomy and agritourism- the Tourism Ministry plans on showing the world there is more to Greece than summer, sun and Santorini!

The Greek government included travel sector projects in the Recovery and Resilience Plan (worth 3.35 billion euros in total) following their approval by Alternate Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis.

According to Minister Kikilias, the new funding will “mark the beginning of a new cycle of development in the tourism sector, with benefits for everyone. The pandemic has shown that we live in a beautiful country that we must protect for ourselves, our children, and future generations. This is for Greeks and for people worldwide who dream of experiencing Greece’s magic every year.”

The government aims to promote Greece as an all-year-round destination with the government utilising 320 million euros worth of resources from the Greece 2.0 Fund, as well as additional private funding in a bid to “change the model and to achieve the maximum possible result.”

So far, the government has approved projects including upgrades to tourist ports, development of winter and mountain tourism, development of wellness and health tourism, training programs for tourism employees, agri-food and gastronomy tourism, diving and underwater tourism as well as making beaches more accessible to those with disabilities. 

Greece to Open All Year Round for Tourists

After being named Europe’s top destination for 2021 at the World Travel Awards, Greece has announced it will not only focus on the peak summer season but will also be ready and willing to welcome international visitors all year round. 

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias made the announcement in a recent interview with CNN, during his time at the international tourism trade fair at the World Travel Market (WTM), in London.

According to the Minister, Greece’s tourism board is working hard to “win over” every traveller, offering a new tourist experience, and at the same time promoting new destinations including more untouched islands, both small and large, the mainland, and city breaks.

Insights Greece - Greece to Open All Year Round for Tourists
Greece proves it’s more than just a summer destination

Minister Kikilias said, “Tourism is the locomotive of the Greek economy, something that proves again this year, in the midst of a pandemic, and brings new jobs that we aspire to be of better quality and better paid, enable through the 320 million euros of the RRF of the Ministry of Tourism for infrastructure, ports, marinas, upgrading of hotel units, for digitization, green development, and a sustainable system of the sustainable tourism product.”

The Minister stressed there is more to Greece than just a few popular islands. “It doesn’t always have to be to the two or three branded places that people discovered in the 50s and the 60s,” he said, adding that Greece has many beautiful destinations that he believes will appeal to tourists from the UK, the US, France and beyond.

Concerning infrastructure in specific popular destinations including Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes to name a few, Kikilias said that Greece has 320 million euros from the Recovery and Resiliance Fund (RRF) to improve its infrastructure and build new infrastructure where it’s needed.

During his time at WTM London Minister Kikilas also met with a range of international tour operators, travel agents, and airline companies from Great Britain, the USA, and France and signed a number of new deals for 2022.  

And although the country will be open to tourists all year round, the official tourist season in Greece will commence in early spring (March-April). And with high volumes of bookings already taking place, 2022 is expected to be a very successful year for Greece’s tourism industry.

Greece’s Tourist Season 2022 to Begin on April 1 

Greece plans on extending its tourist season in 2022, as it will officially kick off on the 1st of April, announced Greece’s Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias on Friday, during the annual general assembly of the Rhodes Hoteliers Association.

“We must be ready by the end of March, as in any case, the new tourist season will commence on April 1st,” said Minister Kikilias, during his speech. 

“The Greek government’s aim is to extend the tourist season. And what we seek is quality in tourism, as well as higher hotel occupancy numbers,” he stressed.

According to the latest reports, Greece welcomed more than two million international visitors in the months of July and August 2021 alone- the highest of any other European nation- with the country looking towards a very optimistic 2022. 

The minister added that the contacts he made at the International French Travel Market, during his recent visit to Paris were very positive, with Greece being a favourite destination for the French this year. More than 450,000 French tourists visited the Greek islands this summer and according to the latest travel agent bookings, those numbers are expected to increase in 2022. 

Minister Kikilias went on to thank the hoteliers of Rhodes and the Association’s President Manolis Markopoulos, for supporting not only the Dodecanese island but the Greek tourism industry in general by operating quarantine hotels and for increasing the salaries of the employees during the challenging last two years. 

Greece Officially Opens its Doors to Tourists

Greece is officially welcoming international visitors for the Greek Summer Season 2021, as of today, Friday, May 14. 

Domestic travel and lockdown restrictions have also eased, however, certain rules still apply. 

Here is all you need to know! 

International Travellers to Greece

Only  international visitors that have filled out the Passenger Locator Form can travel to Greece. The submission of the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) by all passengers of international flights to Greece is compulsory. This rule applies to all travellers (including all children over 5 years old).

They are also required to have a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test (performed less than 3 days) or a certificate stating they have recovered from the coronavirus. 

Travelling by Plane and Ferry 

All people in Greece (this includes residents and foreign visitors) will be allowed to travel to the Greek islands by plane or ferry with  one of the following:

• a vaccination certificate (stating that 14 days have passed since full Covid- 19 vaccination.)

• a negative PCR test performed less than three days prior. 

• a negative self-test taken 24 hours prior to travel.

• a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours prior to travel. 

Please note, those who have recovered from Covid-19 can present a certificate issued two months after their recovery. And passengers who prefer to travel with a negative self-test must present the negative result before travelling, via

Travelling Around Greece by Car

• Authorities are strongly recommending people take a Covid-19 self-test before travelling by car between mainland regions in Greece. This is optional and people travelling by vehicle will not be checked.

Lockdown Restrictions 

Many lockdown restrictions in Greece are easing as of today, Friday, May 14.

They are as follows: 

• Greece’s new curfew will begin at 12:30 am until 5 am.

• requesting permission for movement via SMS to 13033 and 13032 will no longer be required. 

• restrictions on domestic travel between islands and regions have been lifted. However, rules are in place regarding travelling between islands by ferry and plane (please see above). 

• retail stores will reopen with a rule of one customer per 25 square meters in stores. 

• museums across the country will reopen on May 14.

• open-air cinemas will reopen as of May 21.

• outdoor live cultural events and shows in outdoor areas (all guests required to be seated) will begin on May 28.

*All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)