INSETE Greek Tourism
INSETE General Manager Elias Kikilias

Tourism injected €28.5 billion into the Greek economy in 2023

Tourism sector sees unprecedented growth, recording the highest-ever performance

112 views

One in three euros that Greece earned in 2023 came from tourism demonstrating the growth of the sector, a new study by  INSETE, the Greek Tourism Confederation’s (SETE) research body reveals. The total contribution of the sector to the Greek economy (both directly and indirectly) is estimated to range between 62.8 billion and 75.6 billion euros, representing approximately 28.5% to 34.3% of GDP. 

More specifically, the direct contribution of tourism alone is estimated to have amounted to 28.5 billion euros in 2023, constituting 13% of GDP, and is the highest, historically, for the sector to date. Comparatively, in 2022, the corresponding figures for the direct contribution were 23.9 billion euros and 11.6% of GDP, INSETE data showed. In 2019 tourism generated 23.1 billion euros or 12.6% of GDP.

Employment in tourism during its peak period (the third quarter of 2023) accounted for 16.4% of all jobs in Greece reaching 40% indirectly, showcasing the sector’s role as the largest employer in the country. Tourism remains predominantly export-oriented, with 82.7% of all travel receipts coming from inbound tourism (visits to Greece by visitors who are not residents of the country.)

(Sources: Bank of Greece, ELSTAT, CLIA, INSETE-Processing INSETE Intelligence)

Incoming tourism (including cruise passenger expenditure) generated 20.7 billion euros, air transport (2.5 billion euros), maritime transport (144 million euros), cruise company expenditure (235 million euros), domestic tourism (2.5 billion euros), and domestic value added from investments (2.5 billion euros).

In 2023, investors committed more than 2.8 billion euros in the development or renovation of hotels in Greece (+39% y-o-y). Of that sum, 761 million euros was channeled into hotel upgrades and renovations with the majority of funds, 242 million euros going into 5-star units and 258 million euros into 4-star facilities.

In addition to investments in hotels, 2.26 billion euros were invested in other hospitality segments such as rooms for rent and villas, up by 39% compared to 2022, the INSETE report titled “Contribution of Tourism to the Greek Economy in 2023” also found.

The report also highlighted a slight drop in average spending per person in 2023 to 605.8 euros (-2.3% y-o-y) and a reduction in the average length of stay to seven nights from 7.8 a year earlier.

Commenting on the findings of the report, INSETE General Manager Elias Kikilias stated:
“In today’s full of challenges environment, the need for targeted strategies based on sustainable development is more imperative than ever. The effective management and governance of destinations and investments in infrastructure are the minimum conditions for the sector to maintain its competitiveness, offering the maximum possible boost to the Greek economy and society.”

Despite the sector’s remarkable performance, the INSETE report serves as a reminder of key challenges facing today’s tourism environment.