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Greek airports show sharp rise in arrivals

Arrivals at Kos airport are down

Greek airports welcomed thousands more holiday visitors last year according to latest figures.

International arrivals at airports in Greece and the Greek Islands in 2015 jumped nearly six percent to 15.5 million.

When arrivals by sea and overland are factored in it looks likely that Greek tourism will notch up another record year in 2015 with more than 25 million holiday visitors.

Figures from the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) showed Athens as the most popular holiday destination with a huge 22.6% rise in arrivals between January and December 2015.

Air arrivals across Greece, excluding Athens, were up around 77,000 compared to 2014 and airports in the Greek Islands also saw a rise in passenger numbers through passport control.

The Cyclades islands and the Ionian saw the biggest increase in arrivals by air last year — up 15% and nearly 8% respectively.

Islands in the Dodecanese and airports on Crete saw a small drop of around 4% but, with overall tourist figures up it is likely that more tourists arrived by ferry.

Tourism development in the Greek islands was top of the agenda at a recent meeting in Athens between Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and the Secretary General for the Aegean, Ioannis Giannelis.

The South Aegean region plans a major promotion next year with the island of Rhodes at the forefront of a campaign to attract more holiday visitors.

The promotion plans to make the most of social networking and the Internet as well to tap into new tourism options.

Many islands are also looking to extend the tourist season from the traditional May to September with schemes to ensure hotels, tavernas and attractions stay open longer.

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